Sometimes it pays to flip conventional thinking and theory in order to make progress.

In the start-up world, there’s a lot of focus on bringing a business to life. Yet, for many women, the first step on the journey to self-employment is all about bringing their life to business.

In the final session of a real-world, online Sister School offered by Global Sisters*, women from Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and regional Victoria this week ‘pitched’ their business to a panel for feedback and advice about how to the take their business forward.

The business pitches these women presented were astonishing.

This ‘pitch’ opportunity was the culmination of a ten week journey in which this virtual group of women worked through the fundamentals of setting up business in Australia, and gained hands-on exposure to resources like LinkedInLearning, Canva, Wave and a myriad of social media tools.

Many of the women who joined this online Sister School live in disadvantaged communities. Some are refugees, Aboriginal, single parents or carers. Some find it hard to land a job due to their age. Prior to online Sister School, nearly all lacked confidence with tech.

Despite these many barriers, the business ‘pitches’ given by these emerging business women were clear, compelling and grounded in solid business planning.

Why?

Because, without exception, the foundational idea for each business was inspired by a lived experience and a deep, personal understanding of social, economic and environmental challenges and needs of modern Australia.

The business ideas they pitched tap into challenges and solutions many of us are seeking – tasty food, friendly garden designs, new ways to build empathy amongst children, creating networks to reduce isolation, styling on a budget, capturing and sharing memories amongst families dementia or celebrating special moments, the desire to remember those who have passed with a living gift and the simple nostalgia of fairy floss.

Connecting lived experiences and passions can help women to identify and explore hidden and neglected business niches, build confidence to innovate and create a sense of clarity and unstoppable purpose.

It’s this sense of lived purpose that generates the momentum for business growth and a willingness to explore, learn and dive into the start-up space.

* Global Sisters is all about making business possible for women who face barriers to mainstream employment and are seeking financial independence. Sister School is a real world business education program that aims to equip women with the practical knowledge, skills and support needed to start a business or grow an early stage business.

Mary-Anne Scully is a Global Sisters Accelerator Lead who is based in regional Victoria

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