Skyler McCurine talks to The NextWomen about her incredible experience speaking at a TEDx event and her journey to the stage.
The NextWomen Social Entrepreneurship Theme
In India, there is no shortage of talented female social entrepreneurs. Women like Ela Bhatt, who in 1972 founded SEWA, the world’s first and largest trade union for undocumented women workers, as well as Women’s World Banking in 1979 - have been inspiring and leading women for generations.
Hina Shah, founder of The International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Career Development (ICECD), has worked for over 25 years on scaling micro, small, and medium size businesses across 21 states of India.
Beatrice Bartlay tells us how she founded 2B Interface, a recruitment agency initially specialising in manufacturing, which now provides a broad range of personnel from both the UK and abroad. Here Beatrice explains the highs and lows she encountered along her path to success, and shares her top tips for startups.
I started 2B Interface to provide a reliable source of staff for UK manufacturers in 2005, when I moved to London and helped a friend who needed a source of specialist workmen. At a stroke the proposition removed the concerns of prospective employers who wanted good, skilled workers but needed to be able to tap into a labour pool that was both organised and within the traditional, legal employment framework.
From the beginning, 2B Interface provided woodworkers, metal workers and construction trades people for the UK shop fitting industry, broadening the range of skills to meet increasing demand. From first supplying individual staff, we grew as employers began asking for complete contract teams - with 2B Interface taking responsibility for maintaining team numbers.
Last weekend, more than 1000 thought leaders came together to discuss the Economy and Society from a female perspective. Unlike the Davos Global Forum, in Deauville powerful women are in the majority at the fifth international Women's Forum for the Economy and Society. Its motto is:
"Think again, think ahead! It is time for action, change and hope".
There were many international speakers unveiling their ideas on politics, entrepreneurship, economics; a lot of the time about the effects of the financial crisis, but also on the chances and opportunities that it brings. Among the speakers - 17 Rising Talents of 2009 - was Founder of Smarta, Shaa Wasmund.
Some conclusions from the forum were:
Women are Hit Hard by the Financial Crisis
It may be that women-led hedge funds have performed better in the financial crisis than hedge funds run by men - as was one of the conclusions of a Report launched at the Women's Forum - and yet women and girls in poor countries have been hit the hardest by the implosion of banks thousands of miles away.
The developed world has received far more funding to combat the crisis, in comparison to that received by the worlds poorest countries. As a result, women now need similarly large-scale solutions, including access to capital and to larger markets, to combat the crisis.
"The ground has shifted beneath the feet of our business models and social and economic policies”, explains Founder and CEO Aude Zieseniss de Thuin. "The Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society views moments of rupture like this as an opportunity to advance new ideas, technologies and even paradigms for society and the economy. With their male counterparts, women have a key role to play in the process of creating a more resilient future," the Founder of the Women’s Forum said.
Empowering Women makes Financial Sense
Discussed at great length, was the idea that empowering women economically is not just a matter of fairness, but of financial sense.
The NextWomen Africa Theme.
Anne Amuzu is the Co-Founder and Lead Product Developer of Nandimobile Ltd, a young and vibrant technology startup in Ghana. The company was founded in July 2010 by Anne and two other graduates of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, a school set up to train and mentor young entrepreneurs in Africa.
Nandimobile's objective is to leverage the high mobile penetration rates in Africa to create mobile customer service technology that enable businesses easily connect with their customers on the mobile platform
In 2010, Nandimobile's maiden product, Gripeline was said to solve a worldwide problem and was awarded the Best Business at the Launch conference in San Francisco.
As well as being a graduate of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, Anne holds BSc in Computer Engineering from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana.
We spoke to Anne about the startup scene in Ghana; which other African startups she admires; and what could be done to foster entrepreneurialism amongst young Africans.
The NextWomen Fashion & Retail Theme.
From my experience as a young female entrepreneur starting my own business, many questions seem to be asked. Most are due to my age:
"Was this a school project that you just continued with?"
"Do you wear your product?"
Or how about this one:
"How old are you?"
The answer to these questions are no, yes, and 20.
Octavia Smith talks to Lauren McGoodwin, Founder of Career Contessa – an interview series showcasing women's career stories – about Lauren’s experience with guiding women to reign as the entrepreneurs of their professional destinies.
Guest piece by Dr Stephanie Parson.
I used to believe that there were three levels of leadership: leading self, leading teams and leading organizations. However, there is a fourth level – leading global settings or global change.
How does one move from leading organizations to leading global change? Think about it; there are very few people who actually lead from a global perspective. In countries where there are Presidents, one could say that these individuals have reached that fourth level of leadership. And of course we can look at world industry leaders such as Richard Branson, Percy Barnevik, Warren Buffett and David Simon; however, the question becomes, what makes these individuals different from those of us who have mastered the first three levels of leadership?
SkinYoga is the brainchild of sister-trio: Radhika, Jagriti and Deepika. They were born in West Bengal in India and grew up in a 20-acre farm in Gujarat where they grew their own vegetables and milked the cows for their daily dairy.
Later, they moved to other countries in order to pursue their respective college degrees. The transition from farm life to the concrete city life inspired them to create SkinYoga and to share with the world the importance of leading a yogic lifestyle.
Today saw the launch of SMARTA, the latest and first social venture of Shaa Wasmund. Some experienced entrepreneurs, like Bebo's Michael Birch, and some government owned banks like RBS and Nat West, support this new community for entrepreneurs, who are defined as thinking (when they have yet to start a business), creating (when entrepreneurs have taken the step) and growing (after the first struggling years have passed and an exit is in sight). Smarta is a combination of Linkedin, Meetup, Eventbrite and Upcoming for entrepreneurs. It's for small businesses only, as they leave the larger ones to the FT..., so they say themselves in their introduction.
There is a lot to do, read and learn from the website. Interviews with or columns by women entrepreneurs and female internet heroes like Michelle Dewberry, Hermione Way, Emma Jones, Karen Hanton and Julie Meyer (who all featured in The NextWomen last year, so we are kind of proud to be endorsed by Shaa) will give the reader inspiration or practical tips on the business. How they did it! Business and personal profiles can be made in order to connect with other entrepreneurs.