This weekend, I was invited to judge business pitches delivered by nine “Mompreneurs.” The nine women who spoke had a range of business ideas and had participated in twelve week business bootcamp run by Mona Tavassoli, founder of Mompreneurs ME, through which they learned the essentials of finance, target markets, business model canvas, and pitching.
Through my work and as an angel investor, I hear a lot of pitches. In many ways, the mompreneurs’ pitches were similar. They each succinctly described their business concept, their USP, how they planned to monetize their idea, the qualifications of their team, and their ask.
There were, however, several key differences. Usually, my sons are the only children at the pitching events I attend. This one was full of children attending to support their mothers. Only two were looking for investment; the rest were looking for support. As they pitched, they redefined what it means to be an entrepreneur within the context of motherhood. As moms, we set the rules in our households, but mompreneurs seem to set their own rules in business.
The world needs rule makers and rule breakers. The women I heard from were both. They will create workplaces that suit their passions and meet their needs. They will do it at their pace, with their families by their side - and guided by the axioms below.
- Figure out how to monetize what you love. Eugenia Kaine is in the early stages of building Minkanta, a business importing semi-precious stones from her home country of Colombia. Ana Isabel Piera Jiménez is bringing her positive experience with hypnobirthing to others through Wise Hippo. While Laura Keely hopes streamline and even improve the experience of buying feminine hygiene products through her monthly package service, Cycle Logicals.
- Dream big, but scale as, when, and if you wish. Often the financial projections of start-ups I review include some sort of miracle moment - a bump (maybe a large government contract or expanding to a new market) - after which revenues triple. Many of the mompreneurs were just looking for a co-founder to add another dimension to their business and had every intention of continuing to bootstrap their work. Beesan Barghouti, founder of www.wellnesslist.com, said that she did not want to add revenue streams to her site until she had a co-founder with business expertise.
- Help others by connecting others. From In the Loop, Jessica Barlow’s special offer aggregator for activities in Dubai, to Saskia Begemann’s monthly baking boxes for busy working parents, to Nashwa El Darawy’s edutainment centre focused on keeping the Arabic language alive, the women’s ideas emerged from their experiences and challenges. Their solutions, products, and business ideas were uniquely focused on bringing people together to improve life - or some aspect of life.
- Radical collaboration is a family affair. The mompreneurs’ families turned out in force. Grandparents watched their daughters pitch proudly - and looked after their grandchildren during the event. Husbands sat nervously next to their wives. Some had clearly practiced the pitch together. The mompreneurs themselves seemed to have become a tribe. When a baby in the audience cried, others rushed in to help. They used and wore one another’s products. They hugged and congratulated each other at the end.
- Success is much more than financial. When I asked Eugenia Kaine if she had tested her market, her eyes lit up. Yes, she had, she told me. She was thrilled to have sold her stunning jewelry at a holiday market the night before. She made some money, saw how happy her products made people, and could see that her business would have a life beyond the business model canvas she had so carefully and proudly prepared.