A few weeks ago, a group of intelligent, creative and driven women were welcomed into the very stylish quarters of Camilleri Paris Mode, Rabat, for the latest SHE Networking event. Both homegrown female entrepreneurs and expats from all over the world came together in a space that is specifically designed for mutual inspiration. Could you be the next locally-based female entrepreneur to join them?
A Network for Women in Business
SHE: Social Hub Entrepreneurs is the brainchild of co-founders Sarah Woods (creator of health and fitness blog FitMaltaMums) and Julia Perry (founding director of You & Media marketing). These two inspirational women have crafted a space where women living in Malta can come together to share their ideas and learn from each other through a series of networking events and workshops. SHE is an inclusive society that facilitates connectivity between women in business – whether you are at the early stages of spearheading a start-up company, already established in the world of business, or even pondering over potential career changes – SHE is the place to be.
At the last networking event, four special guest entrepreneurs were invited to share the microphone and speak about their individual journeys and the choices which led them to where they are today. The panel consisted of the brilliant female speakers Jo Caruana, Vanessa Coleiro, Carla Grima and Mara Camilleri. They defined what their individual understanding of ‘success’ is, as, beneath its superficial appearance, there is a deeper level of self-satisfaction that is more difficult to reach.
Finding the Right Balance
One of the speakers, Mara, is an integral part of the Camilleri Paris Mode team and the first woman to form part of the family-oriented business that dates back to the 19 century. After giving birth to her son, Mara recalls how seeking help to find the delicate balance between work-life and personal-life enabled her to maintain her managerial role within the company.
The extent to which the choices we make affect our lives shouldn’t be underestimated. These choices can be conscious – such as in the case of Jo Caruana, who decided to begin her own content-writing business the day she left university, or unconscious, as shown by Vanessa Coleiro, who recalls how she could not have predicted how the decision to end a long-term relationship could change the course of her life. While Jo dissented from going down the route of the family business, the influence of having business-oriented role models as parents shaped the way she thinks. As she put it, “there was never any question of doing something else other than going into business.”
The Challenges Faced by Women in Business
One of the most challenging struggles that women in business often face is finding the right balance between having enough work and too much work. Carla Grima, creator of her own resort-wear brand, highlighted the importance of remaining true to your values. Having been immersed in the business of ceramics from a young age, Carla’s interest in textures and arts led her to London, where she read for a degree in fashion innovation management. Graduating during the recession, Carla continued working on her portfolio, emphasising the importance of keeping yourself busy and sticking to a routine.
One of the most important aspect of men and women in businesses, is not just to start one, but also to maintain it through the initial stages. It is best to learn more about the security and the risks involved in starting/growing a business from experts.
Speaking about the unexpected obstacles that she encountered along her own journey, Vanessa Coleiro confessed that the competition between women is one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome. She thinks that women should empower each other rather than compete with each other, which is, essentially, what the SHE spirit is all about!
You can follow SHE: Social Hub Entrepreneurs on Facebook @shemalta and Instagram @she.malta to keep updated on their upcoming networking events. Everybody is welcome to come along – just remember to bring your business cards too!