Focus on the fact that you are an entrepreneur not that you are a woman, founder of start-up Baby2Body told fledgling businesswomen at Tech Entrepreneur Week in London.
“There are always challenges to being a woman entrepreneur but the field is open for us – we can do whatever we like," said Melinda Nicci, who sought work in a large corporate, consumer technology company Philips, to expand her business management after running her own company for nearly two decades.
South Africa-born Nicci moved to London while she was pregnant and found there was a gap in the market for prenatal and postnatal fitness and nutrition advice. She set up and ran Baby2Body for 17 years until she hit a plateau.
She said: “I was able to bring up two kids through Baby2Body. It saw me through a divorce and through loss of a parent. It was my third baby. I was at the school gates every day, I could manage my time and manage my hours. But people would ask 'how are you going to scale?'
“I couldn't understand why I would need to. So I did something radical. I was too attached to the business. I knew I needed to take a step away.”
Nicci saw that health technology was “worth looking at”. After gaining a qualification in sports science, Nicci found a job at Philips in the innovation team in Amsterdam.
Working for someone else put Nicci in "in a quagmire of politics that I completely wasn’t used to," she said.
“I went from being my own boss to a corporate with hardly any women at C-level.”
Using her experience at a large company, Nicci recently reopened Baby2Body, and she is now pitching to investors to give the business a technology angle.
Picture: Flickr Thomas Van Weerd