With the digital revolution making entry into traditional and non-traditional markets more accessible than ever for SMBs to compete against more established, larger brands, we reached out to Singapore-based Author of Mother Industrialist Kenneth Choo and CEO of Enfoundery Siddika Jaffer on helping mumpreneurs turn their passion and purpose into profit.
According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, by the end of 2016 there were 807,000 self-employed women working part-time – the highest since records began in 1992. The reason for this shift in employment status was predominately due to a singular reason; in the words of British pop band Eurythmics and the late American singer Aretha Franklin, ‘sisters are doing it for themselves’.
The flexibility in working arrangements has meant mothers are utilizing their part-time status to help support their own business ventures, and the results have been promising.
What has been dubbed the ‘mum economy’ whereby businesses are run by mothers with school age children at home, is thriving in the UK, generating more than USD 9 billion towards the British economy in 2016. According to a report by Development Economics this sector is growing at an unprecedented rate boosting job creation by 23 percent within the same period.
Development Economics predicts that by 2025, UK-based mumpreneurs will generate nearly USD 12 billion towards the local economy.
One organisation that has devoted its mission to helping start-ups from ideation to launch is UK-based Enfoundery. We asked its Founder and CEO Siddika Jaffer to share her smarts when working with female-founders and some of the constraints facing mumpreneurs when starting their start-up journey.
Jaffer says that Enfoundery helps early stage entrepreneurs from all walks of life, by providing them with support and the tool kits they need to get to MVP stage – and then helps them secure funding. According to Jaffer, funding tends to be a massive issue for women. Across the board, only 1% of start-ups achieve funding yet within that 1 percent only 2% are females.
“In our experience, the questions that female founders get are far more interrogatory in nature than male founders…so it is part of our mission to help female founders. There are particularly unique challenges with being mums in business… balancing childcare and work is always a struggle. Being a mother myself, I know the feelings of guilt, the internal dialogue, when trying to balance work and kids. There is an expectation with some accelerators that the business should be the sole focus that matters in your life. That’s quite unworkable as a parent. I’ve found that many mother’s have huge perseverance because they already started from a position of making sacrifices when they launch themselves into entrepreneurship so their commitment should not be questioned. So, when they do get accepted into accelerators and the expectation is that they have to pack up and move to the other side of the world for a few months is not realistic,” says Jaffer.
To help provide practical support, Jaffer says her organisation accommodates mumpreneurs by creating similar opportunities for female founders within Enfoundery using virtual tech like webinars, chat rooms and so on, to give a sense of community and support for mumpreneurs to be able to manage work and school runs together.
“Our model is accessible to everyone. We have a membership portal with free packages to monthly fees that offer resources depending on the level of membership. We also have a project team to support our clients to investor stage, and if we partner with them, we take a percentage. We connect our clients directly to investors or hold events where we put together a panel of professional investors who are looking at investment opportunities for portfolio diversity. So it’s a model where we can lend our collective expertise to help our clients get to launch and scale with minimum lost time and money,” says Jaffer.
Another chap that is making waves in the mumpreneur space is Author Kenneth Choo who released his book Mother Industrialist earlier this year. We asked Choo his thoughts on why mothers are great economy movers.
“Technology has lowered the entry level for entrepreneurship. It gives flexibility and freedom to work at home while attending to their children. The internet means unlimited income potential in a global market. In developed countries, women have greater access to education so will often provide an additional source of income for the family. Most mothers have a strong sense of responsibility and a desire to be able to live her life on her own terms which usually means being able to spend more time with her children,” says Choo.
According to Choo, the biggest challenges most working moms face are time and money. If a mumpreneur can build a business that can run with or without her by leveraging on systems, technology or by building a leadership team, time and money is no longer an issue.
“I believe that mothers will be the next economy movers because if all mothers are able to balance both work and parenting through entrepreneurship, they will be able to boost the economy through job creation, employing other mothers and provide a flexible, balanced and understanding environment for them to work in. Their families may consider having more children due to increased financial solvency which will help to keep the macro economy healthy,” says Choo.
While the benefits of technology cannot be gainsaid, we asked Choo what he felt were the more intangible roadblocks aside from resources that can hinder mothers from entering the start-up scene.
“After working with mumpreneurs for the past decade and interviewing hundreds of mumpreneurs for my book and podcast, I believe that the biggest roadblock is belief. Most of those I interviewed did not believe that it was possible for them to do something that they loved and to make a living out of it. They often did not have access to a role model to help them build a business. Our formal education teaches us to get good grades, graduate and get a good job; there is no formal education on entrepreneurship. That is why in Mother Industrialist, I used case studies to illustrate what I call the 3Ps (Passion, Purpose and Profit) to start a business,” says Choo.
According to Choo, the last ‘P’ – profit – is a common missing step among start-ups which is interesting given most people understand that businesses exist primarily to be profitable.
“Most businesses fail in the initial years because of finance. This is due to a lack of financial literacy. It is easy to have passion and purpose in a business but to have the profit we often have to unlearn, learn and relearn and this is where most entrepreneurs struggled,” says Choo.
If you’re a mumpreneur and you’re keen to find out more about Mother Industrialist, you can visit Mother Industrialists Live Shows where Choo interviews mumpreneurs from around the world. New season starts January 2019.
IFor more information on Enfoundery visit https://www.enfoundery.com/