In the centrestage: Women entrepreneurs of Australia
Globally renowned for its natural wonders, wide-open spaces, beaches, deserts, “The Bush”, and “The Outback”, Australia is one of the world’s most highly urbanised countries. Looking at women in business in Australia, it is a very positive picture. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic that hit us, Australia is still a great place to start a business. And, on a constructive note, small businesses in the country have adapted to changes fast and they continue to drive growth in the country’s economy.
In fact, women currently make up a large percentage of the workforce. What percentage of business owners are women in Australia? According to entrepreneurship statistics 2022, 30% of businesses in Australia are owned by women, whilst slowly and steadily progress is being made.
Here are some enterprising women entrepreneurs from Australia.
> Carrie Kwan, Co-founder & CEO, Mums & Co
Assisting and steering women to make it big in business is her passion. Carrie Kwan, Co- founder and CEO of Mums & Co, is passionate about empowering mums in business to succeed. And Mums & Co is the platform she uses to achieve her mission – which is to help aspiring business mums to make their dreams a reality. As a mum running a business, she has a firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced by mum entrepreneurs on a daily basis, which makes her sufficiently equipped to deal with this situation. This helps her to move in the right direction, and Mums & Co is professionally geared towards extending a helping hand to mums in business to thrive.
> Julie Mathers, Founder, Flora & Fauna
Spreading the ‘vegan initiative’ is what Julie Mathers is closely involved in, as the founder of Flora & Fauna. This is unique – for it is the world’s largest vegan store. What drives her is the passion to make a difference when it comes to people, the planet and animals. It was in 2014, that she founded this purpose-driven business, and her sincere endeavour is – to drive change with both consumers and the industry so that they percieve ‘ethical’ and ‘cruelty-free’ as their first chosen option.
> Rosie & Lucy Thomas, Co-founders, Project Rockit
Taking a firm stand against bullying for over a decade, Rosie and Lucy Thomas are sisters who have dedicated their lives to bring an end to ‘cyberbullying’ which is in the news very often today. They were inspired to create Project Rockit – to empower school students to stand up against bullying, hate and prejudice. Project Rockit workshops are held too, that help students to explore many aspects like inclusion and also encourage respectful relationships, ethics and empathy.
> Lorna Deng, Co-founder, DivTal
Lorna Deng, Co-founder of DivTal, is passionate about diversity and inclusion. As a South Sudanese Australian, Deng knows all too well the employment barriers migrants face in Australia. Both she and her co-founder Bedi Othow are HR professionals, and South Sudanese Australian migrants who faced and successfully overcame employment barriers. Quite in tandem, they joined forces to improve employment opportunities for other job candidates from under-represented minority backgrounds. That is how this social enterprise called DivTal was launched.
> Marita Cheng, Founder of Robogals & Aipoly, Founder & CEO of Aubot
Marita Cheng has many roles to play. She is the founder of Robogals and additionally, she is the founder and current CEO of Aubot, a start-up robotics company. She co-founded Aipoly, an app to assist blind people to recognise objects using their mobile phones.
While she was still at university, she founded her first start-up – Robogals in 2008. This is a student-run global organisation, that is aimed at inspiring young girls to study engineering and technology. Today, they transform the lives of many girls through their interactive robotics workshops. Her robotics start-up, Aubot, produces the telepresence robot, which are designed to help people in their everyday lives – from a robotic arm for the disabled to a robot that connects people in remote communities with the outside world. This is sold to offices, museums, co-working spaces, hospitals for kids with cancer, and for security.
She is also the co-founder of Aipoly, a smartphone app which helps the visually impaired recognise objects around them in real time; which was launched in 2016. With her innovations recognised on a national and global scale, in 2012 she was named Young Australian of the Year and was listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia in 2016.