Immigrant Women Entrepreneurs Europe

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

Tell us (a quick survey)

We would really appreciate your response on the brief survey below, not only as this will guide us in our blog posts, but also as Nola and I will have an opportunity to talk (and learn more) about migrant women entrepreneurship at a key event next week (exciting news we’ll be sharing soon!).

In your experience…

(i) What are the challenges in starting your own work/ creating your own business as a migrant/ foreigner?
(A) language
(B) exclusion
(C) financial resources
(D) having a network/ contacts
(E) visibility
(F) other [please specify]

(ii) With which aspects of starting/ running a business do you require more assistance?
(A) business plan
(B) financial management
(C) image and design (branding)
(D) marketing
(E) logistics (practical issues, e.g. formalizing business, space, etc.)
(F) other [please specify]

Please leave your responses in the Comments section here, or on our Facebook page.  Thank you! ~ d*


Filed under: Interact, MW News

We’re multilingual!

Between the two of us, these are the languages Nola and I speak and/ or understand!  Feel free to “holler back” in your language of choice (and say “hi” on Facebook!). 🙂

Filed under: Interact, MW News,

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, , ,

Beyond the screen

Since moving to the other side of the world, I’ve come to increasingly appreciate the wonders of on-line communication and social networks.  Being an ardent fan of Facebook and Skype, notwithstanding, I also enjoy and often miss face-to-face interactions not mediated by screens.  I love the atmosphere of cafés, and the encounters beyond disembodied words that can take place there.  And so, it is with great enthusiasm that I encourage you to take a look at CaféMigrentrepreneur, a regular city-based event for migrentrepreneur women to get together over coffee (or any other beverage!).  The idea for CaféM. has been on the table for a while, and we’re finally about to put it into action.  If you are interested in participating and/or organizing one, do follow the link for further information, as well as updates on our Facebook page.  Here’s to future meetings and new connections! ~ d*

Filed under: Interact, MW News, ,

B is for Business/ Blogging

Social media can open the door to presenting your business, talents and skills to the world – and blogging is one of the golden keys.

In addition to promoting your business, blogging can also be a way to connect not only with customers, but also with kindred spirits in your field.  What is more, you have free reign about what you want to say and how you want to say it (though you’d be wise to heed some words of caution!).  And there is of course also the option to make your blog your business by earning money through it…

However, it can take quite a bit of work to really make a blog work!   Fortunately, tips and strategies for maintaining one’s blog abound.  (Besides blogging for Migrentrepreneur Women Network, I keep three other blogs: one for my business,  another for my personal/professional interest in migration, and one for creative musings.  I’ve found that it helps to simply prioritize!)


So, while the above image is tongue-in-cheek, a blog can be a seriously effective tool for (would-be) entrepreneurs.  If you don’t already have one (or more!), here’s one last inspiring suggestion to get you started with a bang! ~ d*

Filed under: B in Business, Creating Opportunities, Interact, ,

COOs Crossing Borders*: Multicultural Networking

Networking, as it is, is already hard. Networking with people of different cultural background can be trickier albeit interesting and fruitful. Here are  8 tips to make the most of it.

1) Acknowledge diversity

I think it is important that we realize that there is diversity in business relations, communication approaches, preferences, etiquette, etc. As we are used to a certain way of doing things, so are others. Being conscious of this allows us to prepare, act accordingly and to have and open mind. (See tip #2)

2)  Come with an open mind
Others may also be unsure or even unaware of diversity and may carry on as usual which in some cases can be different from how we do things. Having an open mind allows us to avoid any misunderstanding and most importantly, to go beyond these differences and maybe even find an interesting business link.

3)  Come prepared 

If you can research or brush up on cultural sensitivity, cross-cultural communication and etiquette, do so.  And if you’re the new one, take time to learn about local business culture. This reflects professionalism as well as projects a person who is well-educated, well-traveled and has a global perspective. But more importantly, it will facilitate fruitful networking with more people.

4) Be curious, be interested

This goes beyond cross-cultural networking and is the basis of any good networking. Be genuinely interested in people and in what they do and you’ll have people taking interest in you too. But having another layer to explore, such as cultural diversity, may offer an interesting topic, or better yet, a business opportunity.

5) Be yourself but maintain professionalism all the time.

Enough said.

6) Have a set of neutral questions and topics of discussion.

In most networking tips, you’ll find the suggestion to come ready with questions and points of discussion that will help you start or continue conversations. I concur. But in addition, going back to tip #1,  I suggest that we remain conscious of cultural diversity and gauge the sensitivity of questions and topics.  (i.e. Is the question too personal? Is this a controversial topic? )

7) Go beyond language

We are mostly judged by how well we talk in a certain language (unfortunately). But in an environment where not all are native speakers, doing so would just make us miss out on potential great links. Go beyond the language skills and learn more about what the person has to offer. (See tip #4) And do the other person and yourself a favor, speak simply and slowly. If you have something smart to say, your point remains smart  even if you use simple words.

8) Be sincere

Again, self-explanatory. Reaching out to the person in a sincere way goes beyond cultural diversity. It’s about a person reaching out to another person. Who can resist that?

If you have any tips to add, you’re most welcome to send them in through the comment box. And if you would like to meet and network with other women entrepreneurs in Europe, come and join us at the Speed Wall Post Networking event we’re hosting on March 19-21. RSVP by clicking on the Join button. Hope to see you there!

*Creators of Own Opportunities (COOs) Crossing Borders is a weekly blog that talks about business ideas (other than those under Cultural Capital); discusses topics that helps us create our opportunities as well as cross barriers as immigrant women entrepreneurs. There will also be features on immigrant women who are creating or have created their opportunities. (If you want to share your story, don’t be shy!! Send me a message now!)

Filed under: Interact, , , , , ,

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