In March, we focused on Social Development Goal #5, Gender Equality, and discussed how female entrepreneurs are making significant strides toward balancing out the number of businesses founded by women versus men in Austria and across the globe. While there is still a long way to go, our recent WineDown on Closing the Gender Gap inspired us by convening en masse a group of active and aspiring female entrepreneurs to learn from founders who are currently starting and scaling their own businesses.
To keep the sharing and connection going, we wanted to capture insights from a few more women entrepreneurs in our community to share their unique perspectives as founders and business owners. We asked each of these ladies why it’s important for women to startup and what insights they have to share about entrepreneurship. Here is what they had to say:
Lisa-Maria Sommer, More Than One Perspective
“The majority of founders are still male. I think, it is important women also start founding their own businesses and realize their brilliant ideas. In this way, young companies will be shaped by women and profit from their vision, working styles and energy.”
MORE THAN ONE PERSPECTIVE, a social business based in Vienna working on the labor market integration of highly skilled refugees. She founded MTOP with Julian Richter and Nina Poxleitner who she met while working at Teach for Austria where they came face to face the consequences of a poorly conceived integration program.
Cornelia Mayer, Topfreisen
“Founding your own business gives you freedom – you don’t need to ask anyone to make a decision and you can shape the relationship with your co-workers and customers the way you want. Everyone has to do what is in his or her power to shape the world in a fruitful way – founding your own business is a beautiful way to do that.”
Cornelia Mayer is the founder of Topfreisen, a catering service with refugees cooking food from their home countries. After traveling for six months, Cornelia was seeking new challenges in her career and wanted to take on new projects outside her role as a social worker. With the founding of her catering business, which also recently launched a bistro, she found the perfect extension for her professional background and new learning experiences.
Perrine Schober, Shades Tours
“It is important for everyone to strive to do what they really want – if they have the luxury of being able to choose. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone to have a business, as it is hard work, re-shifts all priorities you have in life. To have an additional role – the one of a business owner – is an addition to all different roles that you have in life, such as: mother, daughter, friend, lover, sister, aunt. However, once the hard work is done, once the business is growing and standing on its own feet, once it is viable even without you, then gratitude sets in. The gratitude to have been able to have invented the most suitable job for yourself. How many people can say that?!”
Perrine Schober is the founder of SHADES TOURS in Vienna. She studied tourism management in Germany and specialised in the topic “Tourism As Macroeconomic Tool for Poverty Alleviation”. Schober worked for several international development aid agencies in Vietnam, Eastern Turkey, Belize and the Philippines until she decided to start her own social business in April 2015. SHADES TOURS offers socio-political tours on the topic of poverty and homelessness in Vienna, given by homeless people with experience in the Austrian social systems.
Andrea Lunzer, Lunzers Maß-Greißlerei
“Running your own business is the most self-empowering thing a woman can do. To make your vision come true and decide what, where, and with whom you want to work with is very rewarding. It is important to set an example for younger women so they can grow up in a world where female leaders are common.
Andrea Lunzer is the founder of Lunzers Maß-Greißlerei in Vienna. The zero-waste store is the culmination of her long standing struggle to reduce packaging waste. Several stops in the packaging and food industry led Andrea to create a radical alternative to normal grocery shopping and go zero. Since opening its doors, Lunzers has become much more than just a grocery store it’s the place to discuss zero waste lifestyle, locally sourced food, and DIY cosmetics–to name a few things–and is expanding its activities in hosting a passionate zero-waste community.
Karin Kuranda & Jessica Neumann, Endlos Fesch
“We believe that women are great leaders and of course they bring so much expertise on many different levels. Unfortunately, women are underrepresented and undermined in many areas, specifically as CEOs. Therefore, it is important to encourage more women to steer companies and create their own businesses, where they can act independently and highlight their strengths.”
Karin Kuranda (right) and Jessica Neumann (left) are the founders of Endlos Fesch – the Vienna Fashion Library. Members can rent high-quality women’s fashion, including pieces from local designers, e.g. MaMaMu, Tutu Vienna, and die Rote Zora. The library currently offers about three hundred pieces. The options are a mix of fair fashion, sustainably produced clothing, ex-favorite pieces from community members, and vintage dresses. As part of the zero waste Austria initiative, Karin and Jessica believe in social and ecological change for a greater impact. The founders actively apply existing sustainable and green solutions that focus on using zero waste technologies.
Inspired to found your own business or looking for support in your own entrepreneurial journey? Connect with Impact Hub and plug into this incredible network of female founders.
(Photo credit: Lea Fabienne)