Last Thursday 8th March, around 30 female (and one male – thanks for representing, Richard!) social entrepreneurs came up to the Hub to celebrate International Women’s Day with a world cafe knowledge-sharing discussion and a talk by the ever-inspiring Servane Mouazan from Ogunte.
Servane’s engaging presentation focused on the challenges she’s seen women face in starting up social businesses and securing investment, through the pre-incubation programme she launched last year – Make a Wave.
For the roundtable part of the event, we gathered in groups to discuss issues such as…
What’s holding you and your business back right now?
If you had 150% more confidence, what boundaries would you push?
The main things that seemed to be holding people back were a lack of working capital, limitations in financial understanding and the lack of established networks.
Some of the things people would do if they had less limitations (in funding, confidence etc.) would be to be bolder with approaching investors and presenting themselves to potential partners / clients.
This event showed how important it is that women starting up social businesses get a chance to meet each other, share their challenges and brainstorm solutions.
Hopefully, the Hub can help with this. Around 45% of Hub Islington members are women – which is disproportionally high to the national average of self-employed people who are women, which according to the latest ONS data is less than a quarter.
Hard to say why we’re so female-friendly but from pure speculation, I’d suggest some of the reasons might be…
… because women are better represented in the field of social enterprise than the corporate/commercial/techy start-up worlds
… because our flexible tariffs work well for women who want to arrange their working life around family commitments
… because we have friendly, supportive hosts and a homely atmosphere, which might appeal more to women than a cold, corporate environment
… because we always have cake in the kitchen!
Anyway, whatever the reason, we love having so many inspiring women social entrepreneurs as part of the Hub community, and it was great on Thursday to meet so many more (and share an amazing Sexy Salad lunch with you all!)
Happy International Women’s Day 2012!