In through the outfield blog

23 February 2011

Enterprising women entrepreneurs

I have to admit that I am not a big fan of the way our lovely language so often gets mangled to create handy marketing terms. The latest to come to my attention in the business start-up world is ‘mumpreneurs’.

However, putting those misgivings aside, these enterprising women are particularly impressive in the way they are able to combine the demands of looking after their  children, as well as what can be a much more demanding dependant – their business.

Just recently they have been getting a lot of attention in the media, with a whole week of coverage on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. Mumsnet logo

Also we had Justine Roberts the co-founder of Mumsnet, speaking at our Power of Social Media evening.

Even my local paper The Mid-Susssex Times had a feature article with one of their traditionally feeble headlines – ‘After the school run we network!’

The article is about the one year old Brighton based Mumpreneurs Networking Club, founded by Nicky Chisholm and Sarah Guiel. According to Debbie Mann who now organises the Burgess Hill and Crawley areas, sharing the experience of being mums is important.

‘It doesn’t matter if little Jack is running around screaming for a biscuit because everyone is in the same situation.’

It was nice to read that the club is not exclusive and allows non-mums and ‘even the odd man’, to go along.

As Debbie points out, ‘networking is an important part of any small or medium enterprises, but especially to sole traders who are often the head of sales, PR, marketing, accounts, admin, IT, social media, manufacturing and so on.’

I’m not sure they have necessarily picked the best web address for the group if they are wanting to reverse some of the stereotypes of women networking. However, it certainly is memorable, which is important from a marketing perspective –

Mumpreneurs Club


I agree that the website address for the Mumpreneurs Networking Club may not do them any favours - there might be a danger that the uninformed would dismiss the group as a ‘mothers meeting’, rather than the group of serious business women they undoubtedly are. However, I wholeheartedly see that this kind of networking is incredibly important. I know from experience that the way women network together is very unique, and that the overall infrastructure of UK business and the culture of many organisations is not particularly flexible to the demands of working women, particularly mothers.

At The Womens Business Clubs, we run networking events for thousands of members all across the UK, many of whom are working mothers. We make concessions for this by having our meetings after the morning school run, and before the afternoon one, and by avoiding meeting in the school holidays if we can, but we also have a serious business focussed agenda at all our meetings. Unfortunately, we still have to work very hard to shake off the image that our members are just ‘ladies who lunch’.

Women have traditionally been overlooked as entrepreneurial and professional business people, and as well as offering networking meetings, one of the aims of The Womens Business Clubs is to raise the profile of the fantastic role that women in the UK play in business. I absolutely support any organisation that promotes women in business, mothers or otherwise, and gives them a chance to collaborate and grow their businesses successfully.

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