11 Jan

The Female Entrepreneur – from a Mother’s Perspective

I am a woman. I am a mother. And, I have launched businesses. I would like to say I am no different from any other entrepreneur but I feel I am…somewhat. We all have our own challenges. As a mother, I also need to consider my children and my spouse. My decisions also affect them.

Female entrepreneurs often face additional challenges not faced by their male counterparts. Many businesses started by females do not scale. The business world does not see females on an equal level. At a recent roundtable of female entrepreneurs (most, if not all, without children), I heard a variety of reasons for lack of women operated start-ups including females not being taken seriously unless they approach business with a “bitch-like attitude” and a lack of female mentors.

But for the mother entrepreneur, we have additional issues.

While we can be ready, willing and able to move forward with our project, to take calculated risks, to explore new options, we also have to think about our families, particularly if our business will be the sole income for the family.

With family and kids, our primary need is often food and shelter for our children, We tend to play it more conservatively, taking the path of less risk, less opportunity. Why, because as primary caregivers, we need to make sure our dependents will be provided for and taken care of. This puts pressure on the female entrepreneur not faced by those without children. In addition, we are dealing with school issues, health issues, and other household matters. It is no wonder that the thought of scaling our businesses is often feared, Scaling may mean increased risk or simply too much time away from family.

The female entrepreneur with kids (before business launch) is more likely to put aside her dreams or goals in favour of stable finances and health care versus untold risk.  We have a need to ‘protect’ our family.

Mothers may always be more reluctant to take risks but by offering support and guidance, we can encourage them to move forward with bigger projects and scale.  When we empower women, particularly mothers, we empower our future generations by showing them anything is possible.

 

02 Dec

Why More Courage Is Needed In The World

malalaCourage.

One action that can change the lives of millions.

In 2012, a lone girl, Malala Yousafzai, was shot in the face by Taliban because she was an advocate for female education. Malala was just 15 years old when the shooting occurred. She could have allowed herself to be crippled by the incident – to stop fighting for her beliefs, to simply exist and hide from her adversaries.

Malala chose courage. At the tender age of 17, Malala continues her advocacy for the rights of children and is the 2014 recipient of a Noble Peace Prize. Her name is known around the world.

Did I mention she is 17 and from Pakistan, a nation faced with overpopulation, poverty, corruption and terrorism? Malala gives me hope that we all have the power to make a huge change in the world regardless of our age, country, background or standing in society.

Acts of courage also occur a much smaller scale and happen around us every single day. Each time we face a fear, we are showing courage. And, each time we share our accomplishments or challenges, we give others hope that they too can overcome anything in their path.

We each have the power to change someone’s life through our actions and by sharing our stories and speaking out about issues in our society. A single act of courage can inspire millions.

more courage

Just a Few Acts of Courage:

  • Asking someone for help
  • Standing up for your beliefs
  • Attempting something new
  • Disrupting the normal process
  • Facing a fear
  • Sharing a personal story
  • Moving forward against all odds

The #TriigoProject was started with an act of courage. It required facing my fears of meeting new people and asking them to answer my question. Will this project change the world? Yes!

If just one person is inspired by this blog and in turn inspires others, it will create a ripple effect with ever expanding ripples that will create change. Inspire one person and you can change the world!

 

 

 

 

24 Nov

Today is a Day for Compassion and Love

compassion and loveToday, a day that will go down in history as the date of the Ferguson decision, is a day where we need compassion and love.

Thank you to this wonderful person on the right for wanting to bring compassion and love to the world. It is the change we need.

We are all living beings regardless or colour, gender, religion, or other qualification. We all breathe. We all share this earth. We all bleed.  We also feel.

It is time to end the anger.

It is a time for compassion. For love. We need to celebrate the good, stomp out the injustice and value each other.

We need to talk to each other. Empower each other. Understand each other.

Stop the stereotypes though I know many of us still tend to judge people based on the actions of a group. Our judgment may not be what we consider stereotypical but it is still a judgment – we have painted people with the same brush because of an incident with someone similar.  Have you ever placed judgement (however minor) on a group because of age, financial status, place of employment, country, political affiliation or job?

I know I am guilty.

Each of us is unique. Each of us is valuable.

It is time for us to start talking about our differences and learn from each other. It is time to love one another and treat each individual with compassion.

My heart goes out to those in Ferguson. I ask that we all pray to whomever guides us – God, the Universe, nature and so on – for each side to stop and listen to each other; to take time to understand each other.

It is time to act as a global nation and bring peace, acceptance and love to all.

 

 

13 Nov

Global Entrepreneurship Week

We are gearing up to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week at Triigo!

Next week, we are hosting our first event – Unleashing Ideas: Beyond Our Borders in celebration of Barrie businesses doing amazing things on a global level! It may surprise people to know we have an astronaut (Yaroslav Pustovyi) and two gaming companies in Barrie – Stardale Studio   and One More Story Games, not to mention countless other businesses thinking big and working globally.

All around us, amazing things are happening!

I hope you will join us in celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week by attending our FREE event (RSVP here) or by attending an event in your area.

http://ca.gew.co/activities

 

 

 

GEW-Canada-Flyer-ENG-FINAL

Hashtags: #GEW #GEWCanada #TriigoProject #BeyondOurBorders

A huge thank you goes out to the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre at Georgian College for helping make this event possible.

05 Nov

Creativity is Intelligence Having Fun

wds 2014 1531“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – brilliant words by Albert Einstein that ring true with this entrepreneur and many more.

When we unlease our creativity, our imagination can lead to innovative things; new perspectives, different methods, amazing ideas!

This is just one reason why the Arts are vital to everyone.

The Arts include drawing, music, reflection, dance, writing, drama and so much more. Each one of us has likely drawn on skills developed through exposure to the arts at one point in life whether it be preparing for that interview, sketching a logo, writing a report or designing a website. The Arts encourage us to think bigger and help us hone the skills we need to be successful.

We need the Arts to continue to fuel our creativity. At the 2014 World Domination Summit, I ran into Gavin Aung Than, creator of Zen Pencils, who was also one of the speakers (see his video here). One of the changes Gavin wants to see in the world is an increase in Arts funding. As mentioned above, the Arts have a major role in our lives even if we don’t always realize it.

Gavin is an amazing artist – his WDS poster hangs proudly in my office reminding me of the importance of creativity in every function of our lives. Without creativity, we wouldn’t have imagination or innovation; our lives would stagnate and change would be unthinkable. We need artists. We need intelligent people having fun and being a little creative along the way.

 

 

 

 

26 Oct

When All Women Are Equal

wds 2014 156085 years ago this month, on October 18, 1929, women in Canada officially became persons. There was still a long way to go however as women from certain ethnic groups were still not allowed to vote for many more years with aboriginal women being allowed to vote in 1960.

In Canada, we are our own persons. We do not belong to anyone. We can own property. We can attend school. We can make decisions. We can vote.

Many females around the world do not have any of these options.

In some countries, women may not be allowed to attend school or restricted from attending school due to tuition costs. There is a perceived lesser value in educating a girl child who will leave a family than a boy child who will stay.

In actuality, girls who receive education are more likely to marry later, not contract HIV, have more living children and empower others.

And education is only one area where women are unequal.

Around the world, women are persecuted and murdered for standing up for human rights, for stopping their would be rapists and attackers. For taking a stand against abusive husbands.

And, in some countries, women remain as non-person – without the right to vote, own property or have a say in their person.

This has to change!

I am not so naive as to believe this will ever happen on a global scale as there will always be those who seek to oppress others but I do believe we can become a global village where all men, women and children are equal and have access to education, health care, clean water, shelter.

To empower women is to educate, to inform and to raise up the status of women. Empowered women will, in turn, educate others including their children and future generations. By empowering women across the world, we move one step closer to equality.

15 Oct

The Need for Better Relations Between Countries

wds 2014 1539Hector Padillo from Mexico hit the nail on the head – better relations between countries is  a change in the world that benefits everyone.

Economically, better relationships lead to increased trade, reduced import and export fees and more free enterprise. Entrepreneurs can more easily scale businesses and expand globally.

It is also vital that both government and citizens of each country work together to educate each other and build international relationships. Many problems faced by one country are also problems in another.  We can learn from following the lead of another country or by learning from their errors.

We can also join forces with other countries in a joint effort to solve issues. to prevent wars, provide disaster relief, solve famine, hunger and water shortages and conquer other world issues.

Our world is increasingly becoming a global world and each person a global citizen. Better relations between countries will foster this growth as the internet age makes working, living and playing internationally more possible.

07 Oct

The Importance of Asking Why

On the eve of the Art of Entrepreneurship, it seems fitting to talk about Chris Guillebeau’s answer to What is the Change You Want to See in the World. Chris’s answer “More People Asking Why” is an answer I would like to see occur as well.

wds 2014 1570When we ask why, we open up possibilities and have an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of why and how things happen. We open our hearts and our minds.

Asking why has led to a lot of learning and, in process, an abundance of knowledge on a variety of issues. Asking why has also helped me work better as I understand the processes that must take place prior to my involvement. It is not enough to simply know what you do as having a thorough understanding of the entire process will help you streamline processes and work together as a team, even when the team may consist of different groups of people and/or businesses.

Let’s go one step further and ask “Why Not?”

As an entrepreneur, I have often asked myself this question. Why not start my own business? Why not attend an event where I know no one? Why not start asking complete strangers to write on a board?

In essence, we are asking what could happen if we take a chance and step outside our comfort zone and take a risk. What is the worst that could happen? What are the consequences? Why are we afraid?

The bottom line is simple. We need to ask questions every day and challenge ourselves. It is not enough to simply act without thought; to exist but not live.

 

 

 

29 Sep

Small Businesses Helping Others

More Small Businesses Truly Helping OthersAs I was leaving Portland after WDS, I ran into a few of my “cousins” and asked them to take part in the Triigo Project by answering “What is The Change You Want to See in the World?”

This answer is much in line with my own philosophy – “More Small Businesses Truly Helping Others.”

All small businesses have the opportunity to help. Business owners can sit on boards, donate products or services or work to solve issues in their community. You may want to work towards a single cause or help in numerous areas.

Small businesses may lack the cash flow to donate momentarily to help others but that does not mean small businesses cannot help.

I have also met some amazing businesses with a mantra to help others.  Locally, the Grilled Cheese Social Eatery has found a great way to give back and help others by offering a suspended coffee/sandwich program. Customers can buy sandwiches or coffee and suspend the purchase thereby prepaying for someone who needs a meal or hot drink  and simply cannot afford it.

Another business, Kitt’s, donates a new pair of underwear to Women’s shelters upon the sale of her underwear product. We often don’t think about the need for personal items like underwear, feminine hygiene or even razors.

Each business, regardless of size, can take time to help someone else.  Here are a few ideas of how you can help others in your community:

  • Participate in local food drives by requesting donations from clients or by helping in the food bank or at a store
  • Take part in the planning and organization of community fundraisers
  • Donate product, where possible, to assist fundraisers
  • Take part in a mentor program to mentor new businesses and youth
  • be involved in your community to identify problems and work towards solutions
  • Donate your time to local charities
  • Hold a clothing drive
  • Hire a student or older employee (two categories that tend to be harder to place according to local workplace stats)

These are all small steps to help others. Think about how your business could truly help others.

 

 

 

 

23 Sep

Red Tape and Ruby Slippers

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Somewhere along the way, I ended up running a municipal government campaign and it’s been a bit busy. Somewhat ironic that tonight’s post is talking about red tape – something you see a lot of in all levels of government.

Maybe I’m a dreamer but I truly believe that we have the knowledge to solve most of the world’s problems and one of the major things that stop us from doing so is red tape. Our planet has an abundance of water and the ability to grow food for all. Yes, logistics are an issue but not an impediment. What is needed to solve water and hunger issues is already available but simply not put to use. Homelessness and affordable housing could also be virtually eliminated with cooperation of government  and private/public funders. One simply has to visit FastCoexist to see some of the amazing ideas already invented but not put into use.

And then there are the innovators: the ones with ideas, thoughts and new perspectives on how to solve issues around the world. But, without cooperation of government and relaxation of some rules & regulations, their projects may not come to fruition.

Consider some of the innovative building ideas such as repurposed cargo container apartment units as vieweable in this Popular Mechanics article or by googling “Repurposed Cargo Containers”. These units could quickly be developed into affordable housing units. But, add by-laws, fire safety rules, strict building codes and other bits of red tape not designed to allow flexible for innovation and creative ideas, these units become difficult to develop and enact in various communities. Our codes are created by government to protect us but the “written in blood” rules limit new ideas from coming to light without undertaking incredible time and expense.

Other barriers to innovation and implementation of world-changing ideas include issues and regulations between countries (or even provinces), financial requirements, support of local communities and access to and sharing of information. i firmly believe there are people who possess great answers that would change the world if the knowledge was shared with the right people.

Governments and individuals need to think differently. We need to share our ideas, collaborate with others and put our plans in motion. Government needs to support innovation by evaluating rules, codes, bylaws and requirements to allow experiments to occur. Reduce the red tape within reason.

I can sympathize with the government’s need to reduce risk, to reduce possible lawsuits. North America is sue-happy – even Canada is starting to see more law suits due to people taking less responsible for their own actions and putting it on others. We also need to stop being a bubble-wrapped society and over-protecting everyone and everything. Maybe you shouldn’t run with scissors but do we really need to label a see-through bag of pecans as pecans? Do we really need to be told “Caution: Hot” when we order a hot beverage?

Financial risk through legal issues is huge! Many instances of legislation have been enacted simply because someone has sued and the corporation or government now seek to minimize future risk.

I understand.

But, we can’t simply click our ruby slippers and wish our problems away. We need to act!

We need to encourage governments to allow exemptions to legislation and other rules and regulations to allow experimental projects to occur. We need to take calculated risks. We need to examine what is working in other countries and apply it to our own.

We need to work with each other on a global scale, and not just in our own area. While each community is unique, our problems are shared. When we share our issues, we help each other by providing new perspectives. Some of us have already been there before and now have the knowledge to help others. Share.

When we share our dreams, our goals become closer to reality. The Cowardly Lion only needed to believe in himself to achieve braveness. Like the Cowardly Lion, we have to take risks and be brave as we innovate. It is up to us to cut through red tape and make our dreams come true.