Updated: Oct 26, 2022
Scalare had a wonderful week of honouring International Women’s Day with two exciting events at the University of Sydney.
Graciously hosted by Nina Juhl and Imogen Barwick of the Sydney Knowledge Hub and INCUBATE, Scalare Partner Jenny Li and Catalyser Co-Founder Aivee Robinson were invited to speak in celebration of the social, economic and cultural achievements of women in innovation.
Jenny kicked off the week and kept her audience intrigued and entertained with her story, beginning with her childhood in China where she dreamed of one day coming to Sydney University to study, to working in and advising multinational businesses to high growth start-ups undertaking rapid change and growth.
Jenny even brought along the physical symbol of her childhood dream – her old postcard of Sydney University!
Top tips from successful female business leaders
What we learnt from Jenny’s discussion with Nina:
Be sure to listen to your inner voice to discover your purpose
Stay curious and keep asking why? (and why not?)
Remember you are not alone – reach out for support, as this is vital for your entrepreneur journey
If you want to be a tech founder, do your research carefully and seek out feedback, but remember to make a START, otherwise a dream is just that - a dream!
Don’t be put off by your rivals – competition is the best teacher
Being a successful female founder is possible even if you are a working mother – start small, structure your hours to suit you and your family, and capitalise on the flexibility of being your own boss
Practice inclusion in your business, even if it’s very small – studies have shown that cultural and gender diverse teams are stronger, create more impact, and ultimately benefit the bottom line
Also representing Scalare during International Women’s Day events was social tech entrepreneur Aivee Robinson. Aivee was invited to speak about her experience as a Co-Founder at Catalyser, a workplace giving platform for businesses to support charity, community and social impact, which is helping people change the world from their workplace.
Aivee's wealth of professional experience spans education, human rights and international development with the United Nations, public sector and not-for-profit organisations in Asia, the UK and Australia.
During her talk, Aivee described how her previous charity experience at UNICEF sowed the seeds for Catalyser, having realised that so many charity programs relied heavily on corporate sector for funding, she sought a solution for maximising how companies can work with charities. Catalyser was literally born from that!
Aivee passed on some useful insights:
The start-up space is so much more than the tech! Women in particular often undervalue their experiences and how they can be applied in a tech business. Female founders have very transferable skills, and often it’s the soft skills that make a difference.
If you don’t have all the skills you need at first, you can learn most of them. And make sure to find others to work with who can complement your skillset.
Get out there and build your network! There are plenty of women’s networks, industry- based networks and more. The start-up and tech space are generally very good and tend to more progressive than some other industries. Find peers that stand for what you stand for – there is power in the collective!
Don’t underestimate the power of the start-up community. For every problem there is always someone willing to help. There is an incredible amount of goodwill in the community especially in Australia.
Taking on piecemeal work such as consulting can be helpful if you are trying to take the leap from a full-time job into your start-up. Freelancing on the side will not only supplement your income but can create partnerships which may help your business.
Financial support is available. There are founder-friendly programs for all types of businesses and many types of grants and loans you can access.
Be sure of your position on key issues as a founder, and consider getting your start-up B Corp certified. It will show people that your business shares the same values and give you a good framework for making decisions.
When you experience gender or any other bias, don’t be afraid to bring it into the conversation, it’s now more acceptable than ever to call it out.
Thank you, Jenny and Aivee for taking the time to share your insights with us, we are so proud to have you represent the Scalare community.
Gain more insights
View the full webinar session where Jenny Li shares her insights about success, the innovation industry and the future of gender equality.
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