Speaking Engagement at Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz

By April 16, 2014Blog

Basel, 16.4.2014 – Today I was invited as a guest lecturer to the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW) in Basel. Within the context of their Executive MBA program, I  was asked to present in their Entrepreneurship course on the following two  questions concerning my experience as a female founder.

  1. What is my main motivation for having founded a company?
  2. What are the main challenges as a female founder in Switzerland?

The first question feels intuitively easy: On the one hand, I started Inspire 925 because I firmly believe in our vision of creating a more inspired working world where people are engaged in what they do. On the other hand, I greatly enjoy the process of building up a company. There is something inherently meaningful and exhilarating in taking a mere idea and turning it into a tangible, full-fledged organization that addresses a need in society.

The second question, however, is more challenging (no pun intended!). After giving it some initial thought, I presented several challenges to the executive MBA students. For the sake of brevity, however, I will only expand in this blog post on one of them.

Challenge #1: Finding the Courage to Start

Paul Graham, founder of Silicon Valley’s YCombinator, explains this challenge  aptly when he writes in one of his famous essays:

“In my experience the best way to get people to work on ambitious projects is examples of other people who have.”

In my presentation, I suggested that the same is true for aspiring female founders in Switzerland. I believe that one of the biggest reasons for why only a mere 20% of all new founders in any given year in Switzerland are women is because there aren’t as many accessible role models. What’s more, according to this article, only 3% of all business angels in Switzerland are female. So not only is it harder to find examples of other successful women entrepreneurs as you’re starting out, it is also potentially more difficult to find investors you can fully identify with.

All that said, while this challenge is real and relevant, I think it is fortunately on the decline; a trend, I’m eager to support with my own example, energy and entrepreneurial drive.

Leave a Reply