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StartUp Grind Event: Global Female Founders Month

By | Business

On May 23rd, Natalia and I attended an event hosted by StartUp Grind. The event was held at the Zendesk venue at Queen Street in Melbourne.

StartUp Grind holds events after work hours throughout the year, to accommodate the busy working individuals that come along straight after work. The event started at 6:00 pm with networking and food, a Fireside Chat at 7:00 pm, and finished with networking at 8:00 pm.

The event was hosted by Nick Bell, one of Australia’s most prolific self-made businessmen, who started WME in his bedroom with only $400 and sold his business to Melbourne IT for $39 million. He organised three female entrepreneurs who have successfully launched their own businesses, such as Dr Kate Cornick, Shahirah, and Emily Rich.

Dr Kate Cornick is the CEO of LaunchVic, the Victorian Government’s lead start up development agency. She made sure to emphasise that being a ‘CEO’ is not as glamorous as people believe, and involves a lot of responsibility. She mentioned the stresses involved of having a high job position, by drawing on previous experiences and failures to discuss the importance of work-life balance and listening to your mind and body through stressful times, in order to make appropriate choices.

Shahriah is the co-founder of Finch, a financial app for your social life that helps you track your social spending and pay and request money instantly. She agreed with Kate, and shared that when you start a business, it is everything to you, you live and breathe it, and therefore it can take its toll on friendships and family. She brought up the commonly held belief that ‘when you start a business you have no life’, and mentioned that for people who are passionate about their business, this is a choice that they make. Shahriah relaxes and takes her mind of work by getting up early in the morning to do yoga.

Emile Rich is a young woman with a wealth of knowledge at such a young age. She is a tech entrepreneur, having sold Jemsoft to a publicly listed IoT company in 2017, she now invests in projects at their early stage. She shared that from her own personal experience with gaining venture capital, it is crucial not to take the first investor’s offer, and to choose your investors wisely by looking at what they can bring to the table. Therefore, she only invests in start-ups based on what she can bring to their team.

The guest speakers discussed the processes involved in starting a business, and the struggles faced along the way. In particular one of the struggles raised by a member of the audience was sexism and asked whether the entrepreneurs whether they have experienced and how they handled it. Shahriah answered this by saying that in a meeting she was presenting, she was ignored by her male audience and all questions asked were directed to her male colleague. She handled this situation by carrying on with the meeting politely, despite knowing immediately that she would not take any investment offers from them.

There were some attendees who were passionate about technology and others who plan to start their own business in the future and wanted to gain insights from the experiences of successful entrepreneurs.
We attended this event to organise appointments with people who want to grow their businesses and reach their goals. We met individuals who have started a business and would like to receive structured support through our Marketing Governance Framework to make more informed business decisions.

The women were well informed, and discussed their experiences starting a business and the processes involved in gaining investment. However, the discussions were constrained to starting a business and did not delve into the successful management of the business and maintaining momentum over the long-term.

Location:

Zendesk

67 Queen Street, Melbourne , VIC 3000

Cost:
$25 per person

Highlight:
The chance to meet passionate individuals

Hot Tip:
Get there as early as possible to network before the Fireside Chat starts, as people tend to leave after the speakers have finished

Take Outs:
Work-life balance is so important to run a successful business
Ignore sexist remarks
Only accept investors who can bring something to the table
The Government has a lot of work to do in assisting start-up businesses in Victoria

Overall Rating:

Network Opportunity: 3/5
Speakers: 3/5
Venue: 4/5
Food: 3/5
Total: 13/20