Brainstorm Mornings – HMW Create a Women Entrepreneur’s Support Circle to improve women’s success in entrepreneurship

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 create a Women Entrepreneur’s Support Circle to improve women’s success in entrepreneurship.

When and where: 25th of May 2018 at Hobart Uniting Church, Tasmania.
Hosted by Coinventa and facilitated by Marisol Miro Quesada, Coinventa’s Building Designer + Strategist.
Guest organisation and speaker: Daniela Shurink-Moeler, Small business consultant from Business and Employment.
Thanks to our brilliant participants: Bronwyn Kidd, Melinda Reed, Anna Edwards, Annette Swinnerton Smith, Punnita Chungyampin, Linda Karlton, Kim Taylor, Gabe Gartrell, Tanya La Paglia, Lynette Heywood, Tom Allen, Agnes Nienhaus, Isabelle Webb, Daniela Shurink-Moeler, Eric Sivret and Marisol Miro Quesada.

What participants said about the meet-up:

“Loved the participation, interaction and environment.”

“Loved early morning start.”

“Great process. Thank you!”

“Enjoyed the face-to-face session. Look forward to more.”

From our guest speaker:

Our guest speaker Daniela Shurink-Moeler presented a summarised analysis of the current women entreprenuer’s challenges in Tasmania:

According to the ABS, women in business are underrepresented making just over a third of all Australian business operators (34% or 668,670) with under a third of this number (31%) living in regional Australia. Their average weekly cash income is half than their male counterparts and other employed women. Despite all this hardship, women entrepreneurs have high levels (57%) of life satisfaction, maintain a flexible balance between work and family responsibilities, pursue vital and challenging careers to accomplish goals in their own terms, and above all women business owners tend to pursue a balance between economic goals, such as profit and growth, and non -economic goals, such as product quality, personal enjoyment and helping others.

Selected P.O.V. (points of view) the stories of two female entrepreneurs:

  • POV1 Susan:   Separated mature aged female business owner, taking care of 2 teenage children, as well as assisting frail mother, is moving on from divorce and wants to improve her 2+ year old small business. She lacks access to financial support, confidence, networks & connections to harness some of the opportunities and to improve her income.Possible challenges facing mature aged female entrepreneurs:
    • Often have been in and out of workforce due to family commitments
    • Juggling family responsibilities/kids/parents
    • Lack of access to funding/funds
    • Financial insecurity and feeling under confident
    • Lack of superannuation accumulated due to broken work history
    • Establishing their own business as a form of reaction to complex circumstances in their environment
    • Possibly divorce/separation
    • Potentially lacking business knowledge & confidence
    • Lack of practical & emotional support
    • Experiencing “Ageism”
    • Getting into situations where they feel like an outsider due to lack of current connections and networks
    • Current local women networks exist but in the explained story Susan feels she has not got enough to show for, lacks confidence in joining existing successful female business owner networks. She feels she is not up with the constant evolving small business environment and is looking for more support for like-minded female individuals experiencing similar issu
  • POV2 Bindi:  Bindi has left a troubled home country to make a new start in Tasmania. She has an idea to set up her own hospitality business but lacks understanding of local business practices/connections and lacks practical and emotional support in her environment, as well as from family. She would like to find her feet in Tasmania and become an independent small business owner.Possible challenges facing migrants setting up business in Tasmania:
    • Language barriers
    • Lack of connections and Networks
    • Discrimination – the elephant in the room – it does happen and people have all kind of preconceived ideas and stereotypes based on cultures
    • Cultural barriers
    • Can sometimes lack education and family background
    • Difficulty in navigating the system and understanding business practices that are different to birth country
    • Sometimes haven’t had time to get established in business
    • Lack of practical & emotional support
    • Establishing their own business as a form of reaction to circumstances
    • Different methods of interacting in birth country
    • Current local women networks exist but in the explained story Bindi lacks confidence in joining existing successful female business owner support networks. She finds it difficult to connect and access the right support groups,   for example for migrants like herself,  wanting to set up a small business.

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 Beverley, we used the POVs to come up with as many HMW questions and ideas as possible. This is the result:

  • HMW identify a cohesive process in setting up, maintaining, improving small business?
    • Common values of relating.
  • HMW provide other solutions to income that’s not owning your own business?
  • HMW discern WHEN to keep persisting and when we should back down?
    • Learn our boundaries come from a compassionate place.
  • HMW assist Women Entrepreneurs to feel welcome and comfortable to join?\
  • HMW find a circle of support?
  • HMW bring women together?
  • HMW find these women who need support?
  • HMW offer a space for support and get women who need it to come?
  • HMW market the circle of support?
    • Safe creative space.
    • Word of mouth and other women’s groups.
  • HMW connect to the Women Entrepreneurs to appropriate services?
    • Contact government business advisors for small and women-run businesses
  • HMW create an accessible information base for small business owners?
    • Connect to a mentor.
  • HMW support other entrepreneurs that may be conflicting to our own business?
    • E.g. Tasmanian Small Business Council or TCC.
    • All work together to support and lobby for economic stability and support, even if in competition.
    • Identify common ground – shared concerns.
  • HMW manage all the ideas for the business whilst developing one idea properly?
    • Find information about how to prioritise.
  • HMW give opportunities to meet with investors?
  • HMW create access to grants?
    • Identify ‘angel investors’
    • Learn how to write grant applications
    • Learn how to tender for government business.
    • Have a central location to view grants available.
  • HMW cultivate more drive and energy to continual learning WHILST also running a business?
    • Connect with other like-minded Women Entrepreneurs.
  • HMW create more time available to attend these meetings?
    • Pass on responsibility to your children.
  • HMW provide role models each group can identify with?
  • HMW identify the best way to communicate with Women Entrepreneurs?
    • Leadership program.
    • Access to business or peer support training qualifications to then lead from their experiences.
  • HMW help Bindi embrace and value her culture as an offering/business in Tasmania?
  • HMW Bindi define her cultural difference as an asset in her new business?
    • List similarities and differences.
    • Identify market need this way.
    • Migrant resource centre programs and services.
  • HMW offer conscientious framework?
  • HMW remove financial stress from the equation?
    • Talk to the bank – reduce overheads.
    • Change income support rules for careers.
  • HMW introduce Bindi to the beauty of Tasmania’s environment and wilderness?
  • How can Bindi start growing in Tasmania?
    • Familarisation of landscape and geography.
    • Bushwalk or painting group.
    • Inspiration and social connections building.
    • Introduction to gourmet/small local food producers in their locations and learn about local food availability.
  • How might Susan involve her teenage children to free up time?
    • Make it fun/cool and add value for them.
    • Have the children motivated to be a part of Grandma’s caregiving.
    • Employ them to do things within the business they would enjoy.
    • Assign task they can do and take pressure off her.
  • How can Bindi get mentoring from a migrant business owner?
  • HMW connect Bindi to other women mentors?
  • How could Susan find a female mentor to give her support and confidence?
    • Third party mentoring program, direct contact.
    • Create platform and database of mentors and people searching for mentors
    • Access MBG program.
  • How might Bindi get the “basic” information to start up a business step by step?
  • HMW make starting the most exciting part?
    • Certificate IV in Small Business Management at TAFE
    • Business Tasmania.
    • Australian Tax Office.
  • How can Susan get support to care for her mum?
    • Advocacy with Centrelink to getting all applicable help.
    • Check with Red Cross – telephone befrienders.
    • Day support for her mother.
    • Cooperative care group.
  • How can Susan find “herself” and the space and time and energy to invest in her business?
    • Find a mentor who checks in with her on a regular basis.
    • Connect her with someone who has juggled in the same way.
  • HMW create an environment that is supportive and builds confidence?
    • Inform and educate existing groups to welcome/mentor.
    • HMW make a support circle easy to find/access?
    • Facebook as a connection point.
  • HMW connect women with the hospitality mentors?
  • HM the hospitality industry help? What services do they have?
    • Train experienced business owners in mentoring and encouraging them to attend events
  • HMW develop an in-person circle by using social media?
    • Involve teenage children in social media advice.
  • HMW help families financially to improve income immediately?
    • No interest loans.
  • HMW leverage a home/work environment and support families?
    • Create co-working (affordable) spaces or house-hopping
    • Online networks e.g. Facebook groups.
  • HMW improve/assist new businesses financially?
    • Check government grants or talk to banks.
  • HMW create new meaningful connections between new entrepreneurs and existing entrepreneurs?
    • Through ‘Coinventa’.
    • Organise events that provide opportunities to connect.
  • HMW improve/leverage existing circles to connect specific needs?
    • More awareness and access for those that need it.
  • HMW find women who are working from home, so they can connect with each other?
    • Identify business through ASIC.
    • ‘Like-Minded Bitches Drinking Wine’ (Facebook group) type of groups
    • Make the circles a priority for the 35 Neighbourhood Houses across Tasmania
  • HMW support women emotionally within a support circle?
    • Opportunities to drink tea!
    • Casual social networking events.
  • HMW involve Susan’s teenagers to bring their youthful ideas to the business?
    • Apply their interests to their business and clarify incentives for the contribution
    • Conduct a brainstorming session.
    • Pay pocket money to contribute business ideas.
  • HMW promote these situations so that women feel less isolated?
    • Tap into social media groups and pages.
    • LOIS magazine stories (Melinda).
    • Share success stories in local media (social) and support networks.
  • HMW show Susan responsibility is empowering?
  • HMW show women that others are in the same boat?
    • Share stories of the struggles and fails.
    • Ask questions in large group to create smaller groups.
  • HMW find a venue that is welcoming?
    • Collaborate with local groups/familiar spaces close to where the women live.
  • HMW connect through Neighbour Houses?
    • Guest speakers and excursions to Neighbourhood Houses.
  • HMW find women with common interests/concerns?
  • How do you connect that need help to opportunity available?
    • Provide events through existing support for small business.
    • Check business register and make contact.
  • HMW connect them with women from local support services?
    • Create an event like Women Entrepreneur networking circles in Launceston.
  • HMW change income support for single parents/carers to ease the struggle?
    • Redistribution of wealth champions.
    • Lobby local federal MPs.
    • Tap into TasCOSS lobbying and networks.
  • HMW connect women through banking services?
    • Create women-specific groups with networks to investors.
    • Join Westpac’s Ruby club/group.
    • Pitch circles idea to community sector banking (Melinda).
  • HMW learn from Susan and Bindi’s circumstances?
    • Through understanding ourselves.
  • HMW offer grants/sponsorship to support circle?
    • Provide info regarding current grants and discuss with grant providers.
  • HMW improve financial access?
  • HMW show her grants available, etc.?
    • Grant writing workshop with list of grants opportunities and people who received them and tell their story.
    • HMW find other people near her who can help her?
      • Neighbourhood House or Facebook e.g. Howrah/Tranmere residents group
      • Local support groups connecting mentor-mentee.
      • Vinnies volunteers.
    • HMW involve her kids in her business?
      • Ask for her mum’s ideas – also has a wealth of life experience
      • Kids can give social media advice and manage it!
      • Kids can create logos, brands, creativity.
    • HMW enable care of her family and give her business more time?
      • Carers TAS.
      • Family support services.
    • HMW turn her negative situation into a positive as part of her business?
      • Use her cultural knowledge as a wow factor.
    • HMW discover government and other assistance for her?
    • How might we find government law guidance support resources?
  • What are migrant CALD business networks?
  • HMW enable Susan to greater connection to new customers/markets?
  • Increase her confidence, support her to empower her then offer.
  • A debrief on her terms. Engage principles of co-counselling
  • HMW assist Susan to better use her children to assist her creatively?
  • Employ the teenage kids.
  • HMW allow Susan to recognise the value of her existing (natural) networks and connections?
  • Breakdown ‘needs’ ad examine who in the network may have skills in the area.
  • HMW help Susan see how she can plan the next period of her business?
  • Keynotes speakers.
  • Mastermind group.
  • HMW better plan for the needs of her mother?
  • Obtain community care support.
  • HMW open up access to further funding to support herself, family and business?
  • HMW capitalise on Susan’s life experience and maturity?
  • Engage with other female entrepreneurs who are like-minded.
  • HMW increase Susan’s confidence?
  • Finding like-minded people to support each other.
  • What does she most fear?
  • Link her to strategies that become a daily part of life.
  • Supporting others by using her life experience.
  • HMW turn Susan’s non-confident outlook into something else and make her proud of herself for starting?
  • Fear-setting strategy.
  • HMW help Susan emotionally to feel support especially post-divorce?
  • Identify groups who deal with mental well-being and connect her with them.
  • Support groups and social networks.
  • HMW connect women with existing support groups and networks?
  • Start Up Tasmania.
  • Business Enterprise centers.
  • Set up a mastermind group to collectively support each other.
  • HMW provide a mentor to advise and support?
  • Platform for mentor-mentee connections.
  • Use existing platforms.
  • HMW provide community support to help with children and mother?
  • A support group that welcomes the whole family.
  • HMW address the need to connect to solve home isolation?
  • Connecting women through existing groups online and bringing them together in person.
  • ‘Like-Minded Bitches Drinking Wine’ and ‘Hobart Girls Advice’ Facebook groups – model off of these.
  • Closed Facebook groups.
  • Involving family members – HMW harness this?
  • Collaborate on problems via Facebook e.g. Hobart Girls Advice helping each other with issues and brainstorming solutions.
  • HMW make networking accessible to solve problems with group for each business?
    • Online forum to solve problems.
    • Online network of entrepreneurs in the form of a Facebook page, forum, or private messaging.
    • Mastermindset – bring new and experienced entrepreneurs together to brainstorm in a revolving fashion.
    • Physical meetings to network and build on ideas – stumble upon accidentally genius ideas.
    • Not one type of person – variety to connect.
    • Business and Employment.
    • Not courses – groups where you can randomly share ideas.
    • Learn to free time to be creative and learn to value what you have learnt.
  • HMW collaborate with women empowerment?
  • More men + no men.
  • Rebalance the power and integrate men into sessions like this,
  • Collaborate as groups – not gender segregated,
  • HMW building skills?
  • Adult learning opportunities.
  • Skills building at TAFE.

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.

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By | 2018-06-11T07:55:22+00:00 May 26th, 2018|Brainstorm Mornings, Events|