It is International Women’s Day! Here at Impact Hub Vienna we wanted to celebrate inspiring women at work. So, we chatted with seven women entrepreneurs in our community about what they are doing and their inspiration.
The United Nations theme for International Women’s Day this year is Women in the Changing World of Work. The workplace is changing, as we know, because we have all chosen a less traditional route of employment. Most of us within the community are self-employed and a staggering 63% of the community are founders or co-founders.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2016 report “economies with high female labour force participation rates are more resilient, experiencing economic growth slowdowns less often”. And sometimes that means you need to make your own job – and jobs for others.
In our community
Hanna Shatovich of Hanna in the House
Hanna in the House is a style and career coaching service for men and women. Hanna gives talks all around the city about fashion and career, in addition to her individual services.
“People inspire me. No matter if I know a person for a long time or get to know new people- I have always been interested in talking with people, how they motivate themselves, what’s really important to them, their stories, their dreams, ups and downs, to listen and talk with different people always inspires me. And fashion, traveling, seeing different places, nature, looking at the sea inspires me. While I am doing sports, while I run I get Inspired, to create something … I am a creative mind, my passion to create is inspired by many things.”
Andra Slaats of Younited Cultures
Younited Cultures is dedicated to rebranding migration. The colourful scarves that you often see around the Hub are a visible symbol of a positive attitude towards migrants and migration.
“A beautiful picture, a moment in someone’s life captured in one photo, an image that says more than words, watching people hold hands, sharing an ice-cream with my husband. All these glimpses capture life as it is. When I take time to savor these moments is when I get most inspired.”
Annemarie Harant and Bettina Steinbrugger of Erdbeerwoche
Erdbeerwoche is dedicated to educating women about their options for feminine hygiene products and to building a world where women aren’t ashamed to be on their periods. Their innovative and sustainable product offerings are only part of the story as they provide education on their website as well.
“Every day we are inspired by many enthusiastic women (and men!) who immediately wanted to support the mission of Erdbeerwoche or have completely switched to sustainable women’s hygiene products. So far, we have already replaced 1 million conventional feminine hygiene products with sustainable alternatives, which is a huge environmental impact. In a survey among our customers in 2014 we also noticed that nearly 90% of the women questioned positively changed their attitude towards their own body and menstruation by using sustainable hygiene products. We get so much positive feedback from women, so we cannot help but spread our mission of sustainable women’s health to the world.”
Klaudia Bachinger of WisR
WisR is just getting started but it has lofty goals. The goal of the enterprise is to connect seniors to mentorship opportunities within companies – which allows the young to learn from more experienced individuals and seniors to feel more connected and less isolated after retirement.
“I guess what really inspires me is people. Whatever I do, is inspired by the stories and experiences people share with me. I love to ask questions, observe people and listen to whatever somebody chooses to tell me. I soak up every little detail like a sponge. And then, when I am all alone walking in the woods, everything I’ve learnt, every story I’ve heard, every person I’ve met, turns into an idea or a vision. I realized that this is true for all kinds of things, music, drawing, editing, and even for business. I strongly believe that only by understanding people, you will understand how to do sustainable business. That is why I am trying to learn as much as I can from every single person I meet along the way.”
Perrine Schober of SHADES TOURS
SHADES TOURS is an organization that provides a glimpse into the lives of Vienna’s homeless people. Tours are given by the homeless and provide a valuable job opportunity and social inclusion for someone that is now on the outside.
“I guess what inspires me most are the reactions of our customers – how much they are appreciate and are thankful for our tours. At the same time, I see the development of each of our guides, how they make their way back into a brighter and more stable life. And when I see how our cooperation partners (the social institutions) applaud our initiative and are thrilled to see SHADES TOURS’ evolution, then my heart fills up with inspiration and gratitude.”
Sophie Thalhammer of Fitico Sportswear
Fitico Sportswear is creating fair trade and sustainable active wear for women. So, you can have a conscience, look and feel great while working out.
“I am inspired by nature, sunlight, mountains, water, being outside, listening to music, juggling …. I love being active, doing sports, to challenge myself. I love Crossfit workouts. I am inspired by people who live their passion, train hard, work hard, and strive to become better. I care about other people, about human rights, living and fair wages, equality and equal rights. I try to live a sustainable lifestyle. I try to make the world a better place.”
Katharina Moser of MOSAIK – European Communication Projects
MOSAIK pursues unconventional communications and creative projects to promote awareness of the diversity of Europe. Projects include Come on Over: The Quirky Europe Game, Route 28 which is an interactive event in Vienna showcasing Europe’s Diversity, and Wallpaper for Refugees a graphic learning tool for those refugees new to German language.
“My biggest inspiration has always been people. Some of my closest friends, whose most personal developments I was allowed to witness, as well as people whose lives I might follow on Facebook while they don’t even know me. I get inspired by those who dare to face others with empathy, no matter the differences in their opinions. By people who think in solutions rather than problems and see myriads of colours between black and white. By those who touch our feelings, might it be through an idea they work for or a spontaneous compliment they give. In the end, it’s all about the people who touch our lives and the ones whose lives we are privileged to touch ourselves.”
The global community
As we said above – women’s active participation in the economy makes for healthier countries overall. Better and more equal participation in the labour force also drives political enfranchisement. Women across the world are engaging in entrepreneurship opportunities as they strive to create jobs for themselves and better their communities.
What can we do to help other women, especially in the third world? The answer is easier than you think. We found two charities that are helping women start businesses and get education W.E. Can Lead and Women for Women International. So, this International Women’s Day lend a hand and as Women for Women International says, “Support a Sister”.