Brainstorm Mornings – HMW Develop a Peer to Peer Support Network for Women Entrepreneur

Brainstorm Mornings

is Tasmania’s unique change maker community where thinkers, innovators, leaders, entrepreneurs or anyone who is passionate about doing good to people and the environment get together to discuss and create a vision for a better future. Hosted by building designer and strategist Marisol Miro Quesada, the group meets monthly to tackle complex social and environmental problems. As a practitioner and coach of design thinking, lean and customer centred innovation, Marisol believes every problem is an opportunity for design and uses those techniques to facilitate the co-design sessions. By framing the monthly challenges as “How might we questions” we set ourselves up for innovative solutions. Our informal gatherings invite a community organisation or NFP every month to help them tackle a complex problem, they present their challenge and we brainstorm ideas to help them. So expect guest speakers, lots of post-its and people who want to work for an hour and a half on real issues, design, co-create solutions and in the process connect with others and get empowered to act and achieve change. A vegan/gluten free morning tea is always available.

The purpose of this meet-up was to hold a hands-on, interactive discussion using the how might we question technique to ignite creativity and innovative thinking where local change makers could imagine new and innovative ways to ‘improve employment outcomes for former refugees and humanitarian migrants’ and highlight the importance of this issue in Tasmania’s economy and culture. Will this event inspire entrepreneurs, local councils, government, businesses, NFPs and other organisations to put humanitarian migrants on the agenda? We certainly hope so.

The challenge we tackled this month:How might we Develop a Peer to Peer Support Network for Women Entrepreneur.

When and where: 22nd of June 2018 at Hobart Uniting Church, Tasmania.
Hosted by Coinventa and facilitated by Marisol Miro Quesada, Coinventa’s Building Designer + Strategist.
Guest organisation: Daniela Shurink-Moeler from Business and Employment.
Thanks to our brilliant participants: Annette Swinnerton Smith, Lynette Heywood, Daniela Shurink-Moeler, Eric Sivret and Marisol Miro Quesada.

What participants said about the meet-up:

“Amazing process for igniting creativity.”

“I want to continue to help! This session has really inspired me.”

From our research:

Our facilitator Marisol Miro Quesada presented a summarised analysis of her research on the challenges that female entreprenuers face in Tasmania:

Selected P.O.V. (points of view) the story of a female entrepreneur:

  • POV1 Jane:User: Female entrepreneur who just acquired a business.Need: Needs to know how to get contacts and referrals for leveraging knowledge (how to do things) and clients.Insight: She would like the referrals to come from peers that “have done it before”. She would want to get confidence and help with risk-taking and calculated risk. Its important for her to know the right people to help her de-risk decision-making.  She would like to know how to tap into resources to educate and empower herself and her staff.

The idea we chose to develop

Daniela described and summarised the idea like this: “Our idea incorporated a free launch  event based around the availability of several volunteer female entrepreneurs/mentors from different backgrounds/industries lending their knowledge and expertise in a “speed dating” type set-up. Female business owners seeking help/support have the opportunity to engage with these mentors in the room and assess possible connections, peer support and guidance to follow up on. It would also act as a networking event giving female business owners the opportunity to mix and mingle with like-minded individuals.  It also emerged that this initial event could  potentially grow into a “female to female” permanent mentor program which could potentially be on the back of the existing business mentor program. All with the view to extend their circle of influence for female entrepreneurs in Tasmania.”

How Might We questions and ideas developed during the session

HMW questions are designed to trigger creative thinking and innovation and to promote team work. After an insightful presentation from Marisol, we used the POV to come up with as many HMW questions and ideas as possible. This is the result:

  • HMW develop an organisation to create opportunities for peer-to-peer support?
    • Combined events for mentoring and opportunity to showcase own business
  • HMW get referrals that can show entrepreneurs how they have done things successfully?
  • HMW get customer/client referrals that match our customer segment?
    • Service brokers i.e. councils, Dog’s Home, animal shelters
  • How can Jane introduce herself to the world (Hobart) as the new owner of her business?
    • Networking events
  • How can we find ‘wise women’/ older women with the life experiences Jane would like?
    • Women’s networks (various)
  • How can Jane be heard and taken seriously? How might she break down the walls people put up?
    • Fun and friendly events with activities to break down barriers
    • Work on her strengths
    • Support and encouragement
    • Attend some personal development to build confidence
  • HMW encourage knowledgeable people to participate in a support circle?
    • Start a mastermind group to establish collective knowledge
    • Entrepreneurs and small business owners groups
    • Provide psychological and social “safety” for exploration of issues
    • Understand needs- individual and general
    • Communicate with them the advantages of collaboration with new businesses
  • HMW connect Jane with the right people?
    • Connect to existing mentor program
  • HMW make it exciting for mentors with knowledge and connections to join?
    • Explain benefit of being and staying engaged with small business sector
  • HMW create networking groups for entrepreneurs?
    • Put it out there on social media
    • Organise social events and targeting specific industry e.g. Find My Five
    • Tap into existing small business networks and connect with them
  • HMW give Jane an opportunity to pass on her experience within this as well?
    • Think Tank sessions – where Jane’s business is introduced and people collectively find solutions
    • Set up an event/ expo where Jane can showcase and also get advice at the same time
    • Investigate helping learning groups e.g. TAFE, university
    • Host work experience students to give back
    • Volunteer organisations like Bonorong Park
  • HMW find influencers for this segment?
    • Expos e.g. Agfest, Hobart Show
    • Markets and shows
    • Animal breeders
  • HMW create fun activities to grow circle of influence?
    • Combination of online and offline meetings
    • Activities such as flyball
    • Training – animal courses
    • Animal walking days
  • HMW find the interests for this segment?
    • Love the outdoors
    • Gyms
    • Ask Facebook likers on business page to suggest/ share where their passions lie
    • Health and wellness coaches
  • HMW create a group of people with business knowledge that are happy to share?
    • Mentors
    • Local resources – co-working, groups
    • Pet taxi operators
    • Create a win-win scenario and explain it to the businesses
  • HMW define the client segment?
    • People that love animals, nature and health
  • HMW find where this segment is geographically?
    • Council records
    • Pet taxi operators
  • HMW organise an industry specific expo that showcases Jane’s business?
    • Tap into already existing organized expos e.g. Agfest
    • Find existing shows and expos
    • Look for couples who have ‘fur babies’ and no children – big spenders on animal care
  • HMW obtain historic information on Jane’s business to ensure its success?
    • Appointed board of supervisors
    • Connect with industry association
  • HMW create incubators to identify performance gaps in Jane’s business knowledge?
    • Mastermind groups
    • Mentorship
    • Identify same industry network
  • HMW understand “strengths” and “weaknesses” – what she needs and doesn’t need – strategic action?
    • Make business plan – asses where it’s at and look for opportunities to grow or consolidate
  • HMW help her to stay coherent at the edge of the unknown where the “world” gets “tricky”?
    • Install work-life balance boundaries
    • Perspective, self-reflection and mentalising, healthy activities e.g. exercise
    • Supports
    • Communication skills
    • Self-management skills
  • HMW understand Jane’s context i.e. type of business and needs – different culture and modes of operation?
    • Ask her
    • Literature
    • Industry knowledge
    • Other businesses
    • Others’ impressions
  • HMW help Jane turn social interactions into looking for and asking for mentoring/ experience?
    • Ask questions about other people
    • Education opportunities that are tailored to small enterprises
    • See if she has the confidence to ask – if not, she needs to seek advice on building confidence or in leading discussions with a counsellor or trainer
  • HMW help Jane to connect to her industry (vet) association to ask for mentoring assistance or introductions to others in the same industry?
    • Get industry associations to acknowledge need to help female entrepreneurs
    • Google associations and call to ask for assistance and introductions to other business owners
    • Ask if networking sessions are held regularly or personal development events
    • By reaching small business owners associations
    • Organise social events specific for vet industry and invite the industry experts to the session
  • HMW help Jane to target one of her own networks to see if they can help her to get introductions to other business owners?
    • Have to target one of her social groups each day to call and set up a coffee date to debrief and ask for assistance/ guidance/ a referral
    • Face to face interactions – convey genuineness
    • Put on her own personal Facebook that she is looking for recommendations for an accountant etc. which will open up conversation, even if she doesn’t need an accountant
  • HMW build more confidence in Jane to approach established business for co-operation?
    • Build personal strengths
    • Provide necessary short education in finance, marketing, investments etc. to help her vocabulary and way she continues
    • Support network
    • Business counselling approach
    • Approach aligned businesses with a cross referral strategy
    • Research where confidence would come from
  • HMW help Jane to market her business to local communities?
    • Support from local newspaper for low cost advertising or even free advertising
    • Using existing client base contacts to share her new ownership – businesses come with good data on previous customers
    • Promote a wellness approach towards pet ownership
  • HMW help Jane to find out current needs of the local residents?
    • Organise events for introducing Jane’s business and survey the attendees for current strengths
    • Market research
    • Survey – ask contact
    • Key informants
    • Start by looking at where current customers are located – work out if they are, in fact, local
    • By observing similar businesses
    • Customer needs at the potential location

We value your contribution

Do you have answers to our HMW questions you would like to share? Ideas that our HMW questions have triggered? Please email us, we would love to hear your thoughts.

Are you or your team facing complex challenges and are in need of a brainstorm session facilitation? No matter the industry, if the challenge is wicket, we are in! Let us know what you need.

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By | 2018-09-25T14:09:11+00:00 June 24th, 2018|Brainstorm Mornings, Events|