On Friday, 23 August 2019, 200+ attendees gathered for the second Be MPowered Conference presented by Mums & Co in Sydney to hear some of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs, innovators and business minds talk; attend business skills workshops, watch the pitch comp founders pitch their business idea to investors; and connect with like-minded women and those that support her.
The day began with Carrie Kwan, co-Founder and MD of Mums & Co opening the conference and recognising that whilst launching and building a business for many women can be the most invigorating thing possible in their work life, it takes confidence, ambition, support and a thriving network.
She highlighted how we can better support female entrepreneurs by investing in them, buying their products, hiring them, giving them constructive feedback, committing to life-long learning and aiming to make 3 - 5 introductions a week, for ourselves or within our network.
Carrie spoke about what we stood to gain if we get this right; a thriving economy with a balance of female-led businesses. Great role models for our kids. A genuine support network for ourselves. And a paradigm that when women do well, their families do well, and our communities and economy prosper.
Be MPowered focused on the ethos of empowering attendees with actionable insights that allow founder/owners to work on their business in real time. Attendees could walk away with the know-how to take their business to the next level.
All of our speakers were handpicked for their commitment to the support of women and women-led businesses. They have all shown themselves to be active in our community.
Not a single speaker had been paid to speak or to attend this conference; some, like Beatrice Tarka @Travel Zoo travelled from San Francisco with her children, Peter Huynh @Qualgro from Singapore and others from interstate. They all took their own time and funds to support Be MPowered and what it stands for. We feel it’s important to highlight this and recognise their enormous contribution to our conference; it wouldn’t be what it is without their support.
Women-led businesses struggle to raise funding more than any other demographic, yet they are the most profitable and tend to run healthier businesses when they do receive funding.
‘Show Me The Money’
This panel addressed the myriad of different funding options available to small businesses and the pros and cons of each and what business model is suited to what type of funding and how do the different funding options work together if they do work together.
‘Rockstar Female Founders’
Of the top 500 companies listed on the NASDAQ (US stock exchange), women currently hold 26 (5.2%) CEO positions. Here in Australia, it’s just as bad - there are more men named John running big businesses in Australia than there are female CEOs. Which is why we need to hear more from women like our Rockstar Female Founder panellists.
‘Hello From the Other Side’
This engaging and real conversation created a safe space for founders to talk about it all - the wins, the failures, the challenges and the glory of entrepreneurship, motherhood and life!
‘The Future - Innovation and How to Build Products for the Future’
‘Your Soul Matters’ - Mental Health Panel on Mental Health and Wellbeing
Founders are not untouchable, or machines. They are complex human beings with feelings and families. We need to remember that. We need to recognise, talk about and embrace our weaknesses and support one another in our imperfections so we can start seeing a healthier more sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem.
A positive shift around mental health and its discussion amongst entrepreneurs, investors and industry needs to happen. This panel helped inform the audience about the drivers that contribute to mental health and wellbeing problems, how to understand their stress responses, and provide strategies they can use to improve their mental fitness and overall wellbeing.
‘Marketing - Build it And They Will Come’
The Hon Gabrielle Upton MP, Parliamentary Secretary To The Premier | Member Of The New South Wales Legislative Assembly, Representing The Seat Of Vaucluse For The Liberal Party also addressed our community fielding individual questions and sharing her thoughts on female entrepreneurship.
Tamara McCann facilitated a powerful session to celebrate achievements in the workplace and beyond by giving participants the language and confidence to speak up and say #IAmRemarkable.
Laura Tisot from Shopify took participants through a masterclass on everything you need to know about setting up shop, populating it with products, connecting the logistics and accounting back-end, and ensuring all customer feedback systems are in place.
Sam Trattles shared negotiation tips for keeping your cool, knowing your worth and leading a positive negotiation process that ensures everyone gets what they want.
Irene Lee from Canva explained how to choose the right promotional channels, develop compelling creative and how to run a range of tests to figure out the ROI on your paid spend. This workshops gave attendees the potential to boost their business x 10!
Fran Ezera GM from Zip, Fatima Said, Founder from eWave and Laura Doonin, Director from Moustache Republic are all experts in their own right and shared their expertise on website design and functionality. The workshop gave constructive feedback and expert advice on how to improve
Have you ever heard the term Design Thinking and wondered what it is? Lara Husselbee, Human Centred Design Expert explained the best ways to test a product or service before launching it into the market.
Sharon Farrell from Online Makeup School gave participants insider tips and tricks for making professional-looking videos on a small budget and the vitals to keep people engaged.
The aim of our pitch competition was to close the gap for pitching knowledge by female-funded businesses and address funding challenges.
Be MPowered was the culmination of an experience requiring vulnerability, grit, determination and courage, which spanned 3 training workshops and numerous 1:1 coaching sessions provided by the wonderful start-up advisor and pitch trainer Marisa Warren of Elevacao and feedback from superstar investor judges.
The terrific and talented founders of the 2019 Be MPowered Pitch Comp include:
Lisa Qi - Share with Oscar
Lija Wilson - Puffling
Charlotte Bradshaw - Evrima
Naomi Tarszisz - RePlated
Iman Davamoni - Purely Polished
Trina Ray Choudhury - Mediclink
Sharing Duran - Adzurra
Lisa Vincent - How Too
Kym Hunter - Champion Life
Mary Sidoti - Zapdat
Crystal McGregor - Puttco
Sarah Cummings - Teach Ted
Sally Wood - The Mindful Mum
Each founder delivered their own inspiring and strong pitches. Hopefully it inspired others and sparked other ideas. We are super proud of them pitching to an investor audience totalling more than $1.5bn assets under management, and tip our hat to their courage and abilities.
A big congratulations again to winner Lija of Puffling who took home $10,000 courtesy of American Express.
Top 5 finalists:
Puffling - Lija Wilson
Zapdat - Mary Sidoti
Champion Life- Kym Hunter
Lisa Vincent - How Too
TeachTed - Sarah Cummings
All 13 pitch competition founders took home $1,000 courtesy of IAG.
Keep an eye out for these women and their ventures as they continue to soar!
Thank You to Our Community
Holding a conference specifically for business women, meant some special touches. Highlights included:
There are so many incredible people who have made Be MPowered possible:
Our Alliance sponsors CGU, Jobs for NSW, IAG Firemark and our Pitch Comp Sponsor American Express.
Our many community partners.
Our incredible speakers and judges.
And our amazing community of female business owner and entrepreneurs!
Julia Wells and Be MPowered Event Partner, Founders for Founders for helping us produce our day with a program specifically for women-led businesses and ensuring the exceptional quality of speakers and judges.
Marisa Warren of ELEVACAO Foundation coached and trained our 13 founders to get pitch confident and ready; to nail their pitches in front of some of Australia's leading business leaders and investment community. Some of these women have never pitched before.
Thank you to all of the brave, remarkable and open to being empowered attendees. We couldn’t have made it such a success without you. We wish you all the very best on your own business journeys…that’s a wrap for this year and we look forward to seeing you at the next Mums & Co event!