COVID highlighted to the wider community many of the challenges that small business owners, especially working mothers, face every day. There are approximately 670,000 women business operators in Australia, 80% of which are mothers and 64% sole traders with no employees. A key challenge for them is access to networks.
We know COVID disproportionately impacted women as far as work opportunities, family pressures and mental health. Many of us are now working from home and have experienced feelings of isolation and a lack of confidence over the past year. We are striving to harmonise the elusive trifecta of ambition, livelihood and wellbeing.
So what’s the state of play one year on? We are seeking the connectedness, belonging and support more than ever. We have further embraced and adapted to our digital lifestyle and we are more open to making online connections. Yet we still crave face-to-face encounters.
During the first wave of COVID, Mums & Co moved 100% digital. Our Chatbot feature and monthly online events, like ‘Practice your Pitch’ and small group meet-ups, helped members feel supported, build confidence and make meaningful connections.
For the 30% of women business operators based in regional and rural areas, 30% from migrant backgrounds and 12% living with disabilities, digital networking opened up new opportunities and enabled them to feel part of a community.
As restrictions ease, we are increasingly hearing from members eager to attend in-person events. Being a mum or a small-business owner can be isolating and business mums are seeking a real-life element.
Mums & Co responded by developing a new type of national gathering for our annual Be MPowered conference on 2 June. The event is returning as a hybrid digital and face-to-face event to be broadcast nationally. The new format provides business mums across Australia access to upskilling and networking opportunities on their terms – be that online or face-to-face.
We know that traditional business events don’t suit working mothers in the flexibility they require. Regardless of their career or motherhood stage, all women in business face the same challenge of time. Be MPowered sessions are snackable and stackable, so delegates can prioritise topics relevant to their business and still fit in client, personal or family needs. Timing takes place during school hours, so women don’t have to choose between their ambition and raising a family.
The conference will be streamed nationally via the online platform Evise, a company founded by two female Australian event professionals, Jade Pearce and Kylie Clarke, who adapted their event business in response to COVID. For those wishing to attend the event in person, event hubs are located in Sydney’s CBD, Manly, Melbourne, Brisbane, Dubbo and Tamworth.
Located from NSW, VIC, QLD and WA, speakers represent Australian women at all stages of business and motherhood and include Turia Pitt from Spend With Them, Grace Brennan from Buy from the Bush, Katrina McCarter from Marketing To Mums and Tori Kopke from The Rural Business Coach.
As women, mothers and business owners, we need to remember not to neglect ourselves. Connecting with like-minded women through networking events helps us to harness our #Mumbition – the unapologetic blending of motherhood and ambition. It’s the time to back yourself, feel empowered to ask for what you need and be inspired by the incredible women around you.
Mums & Co is delighted to invite all Women’s Agenda readers and share a special 25% discount on Be MPowered tickets for 2 June. View the full speaker program and register here. Apply WOMENSAGENDA as the Eventbrite promo code.