Minister shares words of wisdom with entrepreneurial mums
“Society has to change towards young women,” a Luxembourg Minister told members of Mumpreneurs, a group of mum entrepreneurs in Luxembourg during a meeting on Wednesday.
Luxembourg’s Minister for Family and Integration, Corinne Cahen, addressed more than 100 people at the inaugural Mumpreneurs event in Place Winston Churchill.
In her speech she talked about the desire for women, particularly mothers, to be independent, Cahen said that society often told women that they wanted too much, but that if a mother was happy, then her children would be too.
A mother of two children aged 11 and 9 years, the minister admitted that she loves what she does but loves her children too.
male colleagues with children the same age are never asked how they cope with being a politician and a parent
An additional interesting anecdote: that her male colleagues with children the same age are never asked how they cope with being a politician and a parent. Ms Cahen, formerly a journalist, was also a business woman managing her family’s shoe shops in Luxembourg City before entering politics in 2013.
She talked about the government’s desire to reform parental leave so that more fathers could take time off to be with their children, in a modern society where the role of both parents in childcare is important.
Her advice to the mumpreneurs listening: “Don’t let other people judge what you want to do. Women can do it – they can combine kids and jobs.”
Mumpreneurs Luxembourg was set up by Angelique Supka, who also runs a children’s clothing and shoe company, to support a growing number of entrepreneurial mothers setting up small businesses in the Duchy.
A year on, the group has grown from coffee mornings to its first major event. The non-profit organisation is now focusing its time on addressing the challenge of affordable space for start-up companies, collaborative partnerships that will support mumpreneurs, including childcare solutions, and an interactive website.
During the evening attendees also heard from a group of panellists including Madhumalti Sharma, the driving force behind Workshop4Me which runs coding workshops for children aged 7 to 16 years, and the emotional story of Annica Torneryd, who divorced with three young children, gave up a safe career at an EU institution to write a book about her experience and become a business coach.
Tax breaks for small start-ups
There were criticisms too that starting up a small business in Luxembourg is not always easy and can be costly unless you are an ASBL (non-profit organisation) or one person applying for a trading licence.
Sometimes you have to leap and build a plane on the way down
“I’d like to see more tax breaks for start-ups of two or three people,” said one attendee, adding: “The Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg is helpful though.”
It was clear however, that networking groups like mumpreneurs are a lifeline to would-be business women.
Luxembourger, Lino Russo, is considering setting up a business importing decorative art products with her two brothers who live in South Africa. Similarly Neha Bhandari who runs ‘stylizedu’, a personal styling consultancy, admitted she got the strength and energy to launch her business after attending a Mumpreneurs networking event.
As Madhumalti Sharma put it in her panellist slot, “Sometimes you have to leap and build a plane on the way down.”
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