WiE kicked off the first #WomenCrushWednesday Fika of the year 2022 at The Ground in Malmö. Nine of us gathered in the Lego Room for some afternoon coffee, treats, and casual discussion. With this month's theme being mental health, Katalin, our head of WiE, got the conversation rolling with some statistics.
For instance, according to a joint study between the University of Berkeley and San Francisco, entrepreneurs report more mental health concerns than their peers. We asked ourselves why this might be. Could those with mental health concerns be more likely to gravitate towards entrepreneurship because a "traditional" career doesn't suit them? Or does the stress of being an entrepreneur and starting one's own business lead to more mental health issues?
We also heard from Ines, a graduate student from Lund University, writing a thesis on women entrepreneurs' struggles in obtaining funding. Women are less likely to receive funding from investors than their male counterparts, even though research shows that startups founded by women are more likely to deliver higher returns on investment. Ines shared her research on why this happens, and we discussed the barriers to receiving funding for women founders.
Another topic we discussed was the definition of an entrepreneur. The traditional stereotypical entrepreneur is portrayed as outgoing, competitive, aggressive, and money-motivated. In addition, entrepreneurs with these characteristics are placed on a pedestal for the world to see, further reinforcing the stereotype. Of course, holding these qualities as an entrepreneur is by no means a bad thing; it's just that one can also have none of these qualities and still be a successful entrepreneur.
As a group, we considered the implications of only giving the spotlight to a specific type of entrepreneur and whether this discourages others from joining the ecosystem and leads to a less diverse community. How can we showcase the variety of personalities in the entrepreneurial community and help others realize their entrepreneurial potential? We enjoyed hearing the unique perspectives of our attendees, which inspired these stimulating discussions.
The First #WomenCrushWednesday Fika was a success thanks to the support of our community partners and the entrepreneurs that join us every week to empower and learn from each other. We are thankful for our community partner, The Ground, and its CEO, Sara, for providing us the space to host this WiE gathering. We can't wait for our next #WCW Fika at The Ground!
Ally Iversen is the co-founder and Managing Director at Mixfame, an online platform that connects Talents with production houses, casting directors, and producers in the Middle East and Africa. She moved to Malmö from Dubai last year with her family and is excited to connect with other entrepreneurs in Skåne.
Coline Scharfenberg's passion for female empowerment led to her business idea of producing fair and sustainable condoms. She is now in the early stages of founding her company. She is originally from Germany with a bachelor's in economics. She enjoys teaching yoga on the side.
Ines Lopez is an entrepreneur from Spain. She has a passion for learning and enjoys seeking challenges that lead her to unique experiences. She is currently working on a Master of Science in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Lund University.
Sara Birde Lissmyr recently became the CEO of The Ground and is helping to foster an ecosystem where creativity and innovation can thrive. In addition, she has a passion for fitness training. She is a certified personal trainer and is working on becoming a yoga teacher.
Zarish Adil is an Investor Relationship Manager at Skåne Startups. Her love of Life Science led her to a Master's degree in Molecular Biology. She has worked in multiple countries such as Pakistan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and now Sweden in diverse R&D, project management, and leadership roles.
Katalin Vikuk is a psychologist from Hungary now living in Sweden and working as the head of WiE and Venture Advisor at Skåne Startups. Her interest in developing innovative treatments for mental illness brought her to Lund University. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and co-founding the company CAMP, which stands for coping with anxiety and mood changes of becoming a parent.
Ashley Schilling is originally from the U.S., where she worked as a licensed clinical dietitian. Now she lives in Malmö and is looking to transition her career into the marketing and communications field. She is currently the Community Manager of WiE and hopes to one day be able to combine her background in nutrition with her interest in communications and marketing.