Global Entrepreneurship Week Diaries

“Ordinary People doing Extraordinary things”…

This is how Rebeca Hwang commenced her speech at the Game Changers event, and she then went on to discuss the creation of identifiable role models as well as a support network for female entrepreneurs.

Upon our discussion, Rebeca emphasised how bored she used to be while attending female entrepreneurial events, and for the life of me, I could really relate to that! If you have already read my previous posts on women in entrepreneurship you know what I mean. For everyone else, who’s tuning in now, well welcome on board and consider this: Why the hell do people tend to separate “women entrepreneurs” from all other aspects of entrepreneurship? Aren’t we as women good enough to be tech entrepreneurs? Or social? Or whatever?

Interestingly enough, speaking to Rebeca made me realize that the more I fight about equality in this area, the more I am missing the point. She is one of the 20 women global role models, she graduated MIT as an engineer, she is a Young Global Leader of World Economic Forum, she has a patent portfolio, she is the Founder of YouNoodle, she has launched the Clean Water Initiative, she is funny and wore orange shoes when she presented her vision for female entrepreneurship! I soon came to appreciate the very fact that Rebecca was so great, exactly because she is a woman! — a point that I previously seemed to be missing.

Yes, I noticed her shoes because I am also a woman and yes I and WE, as women, really need to stop feeling frustrated for being separated from the male role models (and in some occasions stereotypes) of entrepreneurship! We actually need to inspire more women! Because we are role models from every standpoint, not just as business women or CEOs, but also as mothers, as creators, as achievers! So if you ask me..a woman should definitely stop behaving or trying to look like a man to gain respect — enough already :)

You know, at the time CEL (the Cypriot Enterprise Link) launched thePINK Edition initiative as its latest “CEL node”, we aimed to make an impact in the female community of Cyprus by empowering women via meetings, networking and online collaboration. We soon after aimed to launch our first event as well… Following a plethora of systematic efforts to achieve these goals, I can safely say that its probably easier to build a rocketship, fly and inspire the rover robot on Mars, than figuring out how on Earth we could inspire women from different age groups, fields of work or area of expertise at the same time within a facebook group, which served as our launch pad. Am I exaggerating? Maybe a little, but you get the drift.

Consequent to several Google hangouts, funny mustaches, colourful hats and Skype calls, we came to agree that our attempts began to feel like the next Mission Impossible movie, if anything.. and this my dear friends went on for the longest of times..Until the Game Changers event! (light bulb moment) When Rebecca talked about us, the ordinary people, and how we are capable of extraordinary things! When she spoke about her female mentors, one of which was also a space tourist! If these moments were not inspiring, I don’t know what is.

Of course, I didn’t wake up the next morning with the intention to gear up, jump in a batmobile or perhaps a spaceship, and prepare for a space odyssey or whatever. It did lead me however, to wake up, email my co-founders at Pink Edition, Argyro and Steph, as well as the rest of the CEL crew with all my takeaway notes. This was the point I had finally come to understand that we needed to PIVOT. Going after women entrepreneurs as our target group and persuading them to join us was not really the objective. On the contrary, what we needed all along was to findORDINARY women, who are willing to do EXTRAORDINARY things… Even if they don’t just know it yet ;)

As originally presented at Cypriot Enterprise Link’s website: