Immigrant Women Entrepreneurs Europe

We are Women Migrentrepreneurs. Finding our place, making our mark.

Friday Inspiration: Notes from the 2012 European SME week Summit

Today I’d like to share a few words of wisdom from the recent European SME week.  The summit focused specifically on women’s entrepreneurship, and Nola and I attended a session that highlighted women entrepreneurs with a migrant background.  The room sizzled with energy, much of which was transmitted by the inspiring, bold speakers!  These are some of their messages and sharp observations that resonated with me:

  • We face a stack of challenges: the persistence of stereotypes that depict us as “lacking”, “passive” and/or  “outsiders”; isolation (in that we have to establish contacts and build connections from scratch); bureaucratic procedures so complicated they are almost demoralizing…to name but a few.
  • However, our strength can not be under-estimated: it takes a certain courage to move and start anew.  And  our capacity to adapt, to manage uncertainty, to learn and figure out new codes, all speak to the fact that we are resourceful.
  • We encompass multiple identities, and this is something we can use to our advantage.
  • Having mentors to learn with (not only “from”, and not in a “top-down” way) can be key in supporting and guiding us through the process of setting up and developing our businesses.
  • Sometimes we have to make mistakes.  There seems to be particular pressure on us to succeed, to prove ourselves, that makes it even more difficult to deal with failure.  But no-one is super(hu)man, and we all fail at some stage, and it’s okay.

There is, of course, more to each of these points, and still more important issues to raise.  This is just a start.  And we’d love to hear your thoughts! 




Filed under: B in Business, Crossing Borders, Inspiration, ,

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