Immigrant Women Entrepreneurs Europe

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

Mind map your way to business!

Revisiting my old bookshelf, I got reconnected with the book on Mind Mapping of Tony Buzan. I remember using the tool to make notes and review for exams and now for business concept development, brainstorming and marketing planning.

Mind Mapping is a visual representation of concepts, information and associations that makes use of key words, lines, colors and drawings. It can be as simple or as complex as the mapper pleases.

If you find writing text heavy business plans a chore, why not try this? (Unfortunately, you cannot present this to a bank to apply for a loan!) But it will be easier to refer back to as you go through the day to day of business.  So a combination of both is best! 😀


Via Using Mind Maps

Here are some links to know more:

Mind Mapping and Bootstrapping 

Mind Map Tutor shows the step by step to your business mind map.

Explore resources on Mind Mapping for Business here.


Filed under: B in Business, Ideas, ,

Brainstorming a brand-new image

I am drawn to beautiful packaging.  Yes, I confess, I am one of those people who would probably say: you had me at the vintage label/ funky design.  Of course, it is the quality of the product and integrity of the service that matter most.  But I am intrigued by how one communicates that through the look and feel of what is being offered.  And while coming up with an image that captures it all is a constant creative challenge, I’ve found the following questions helpful for an initial brainstorm:
* what is the mood that you want to convey? (here, creating a visual mood board is a fun and useful activity… or at least an opportunity to immerse yourself in dreamy imagery!)
* what are the key values that your business/ product/ service embodies; and how could you translate that in terms of colour, form and texture?
* if your brand was a room/ favourite outfit/ animal/ song (ok, you get the idea?), what would it be…?

Ps: Also interesting is finding out how to connect with your brand.  And once all the hard work is done, to celebrate with a brand launch party! 😉 d*




Filed under: B in Business, Ideas, , ,

Understanding branding (?)

What would you like your brand to say? And how can your brand communicate your message?
More on this coming up!

Filed under: B in Business, Ideas, ,

BizCrush: BabyCakes NYC (Opportunity in Allergy?)

My husband’s parents cannot eat anything that has milk in it or anything that’s been touched by it. So, they had to learn to do certain things on their own like bread, and cake. Turns out, many have the same condition. Looking for a gift for my mother-in-law, I chanced upon BabyCakes NYC. Its story became one of my favorite business stories ever.

The owner, Erin Mckenna, was diagnosed to be allergic to wheat and dairies. Having a major sweet tooth and being a pastry-lover, she didn’t let this news deter her and instead, she tried to find a way to recreate her favorite desserts without the unwanted ingredients. In doing so, she had created her own business niche. BabyCakes NYC was born.

The bakery became a haven for kids and adults alike who have food allergies as well as for vegans, a growing market that limited shops catered to. They offer pastries that are gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, egg free that all taste wonderful. The popularity of the shop should attest to that.

What I love about this business story is that it grew out of the entrepreneur’s personal story,  battling a condition that prevented her from eating what she loved most, and triumphing in the end through a lot of research and hardwork; and then made distinct by her personality.

Watch her on this video with Martha Stewart:


Filed under: B in Business, Inspiration, , ,

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, ,

On the business of blogging: an interview with Heather in Helsinki

Today we’re talking with Heather Domeney, a migrentrepreneur and blogger from Tasmania who now finds herself in Finland.  Heather is in the process of developing a start-up for tours in Helsinki, and here she tells us more about the business of blogging!

Why & how did you get started in entrepreneurship?

I rejoined the workforce after a few years as a stay-at-home-mum, in the position of bookkeeper for a small naval architectural firm. It was supposed to be part-time! After 6 years or so, and greater responsibility, I awoke one morning knowing that I would go crazy if this would be my job for the rest of my life! I knew my language skills would not be sufficient if I tried to compete with native Finns in the job market. Also, when I looked around, it was very obvious that I could return to my first career (hospitality / tourism) targeting inbound visitors.

What brought you on-line?

An old friend suggested that I blog about starting the business. So first I started blogging about my personal life and it’s grown from there.

How do you think blogging helps you to promote your business?

It’s too early for me to know if the blog will promote the business. I think it will do a better job to promote the face behind the business, in other words ‘Brand Heather’.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience of blogging?

I am so amazed that people are interested in my life and what I do!  The positives of blogging would be the community spirit amongst bloggers. There seems to be very little negativity, plenty of support and positive criticism! Negative # 1 would be the amount of time required maintaining each blog. I try to respond to every commentator and every visitor who likes a post. It doesn’t always happen, or I may take a few days to catch up. Blogging could very easily become a full time occupation. My number one blog I try to update at least twice per week, the others get attention when something blog-worthy happens.
Where do you draw your inspiration from for your content?

Heather’s Helsinki is easy: things that are happening in and around Helsinki, places to go, things to do, bus routes and what you can find along the way etc. This is my branding site. The Taswegian is about living in Finland, sometimes with the point of view of a foreigner, other times just regular daily life; sometimes comparing back to Australia and sometimes from a ‘creative writing’ perspective. The content has not been an issue; time to post is always the issue! Erica the Vulgar is more diary-like in content, and again, I don’t post here half as often as I would like.

Do you have any blogging tips you’d like to share?

My blogging advice: write for yourself, you will find the audience that fits your style and content. Don’t despair that no one is following you in the earlier days, instead read other blogs, comment and get involved. Personally I ignore the stats, and just interact with the visitors. Make them feel appreciated and welcome. If I comment often on a blog and the author doesn’t respond I generally stop following. Especially when they ignore all comments! If someone takes the time to visit and comment, the very least I can do is acknowledge their effort and time.

* A big THANK YOU to Heather, and happy weekend! ~ d*

Filed under: B in Business, Interact, , ,

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