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According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics ABS almost 30% of women operating businesses were born overseas. But how easy is it for women from Australia’s migrant communities to start and sustain a business?
For Sydney blogger Beatrix Tanuwidjaja it’s all about disruption and innovation.
The former international student migrated to Australia from Indonesia 7 years ago.
She’s preparing to launch a website that she says will help global travelers understand local cultures.
But finding the right people to help launch the project has been a big challenge.
“Before it was really hard. I did not know how to socialize outside my group, outside my culture. So having an open supportive network, meeting people from different backgrounds will really help you.”
WISH is an organization helping women from migrant and refugee communities startup their own business.
WISH founder Anjana Regmi, says knowing who to contact and where to seek help is often the main problem facing migrant women starting their own business.
She says one factor making building business networks hard is women’s home situation.
“When I go to events in multicultural communities, I’m not going to say anyone in particular but most of the sub-continent community event, we see men out there. So when you go to events and you ask, where is your wife? Oh you know, she is looking after the kids. Oh, homework. Oh, you know, elderly parents.”
Erin Chew is one of the consulting team members and also the co founder of Asian Australian Alliance.
For Ms Chew, its important business women have a presence among the decision makers within government and non- government sectors.
“Hopefully lot of the skills and networks that we have will link in and we can engage a broader audience.”
Often they have to manage more than 1 job at the same time.
2013 data from the ABS, found 8 per cent of women who had their own businesses had more than one job.
Being in similar situation, Beatrix Tanuwidjaja says she will have to keep her current full time work to support herself until there is enough demand for her services.
“You can’t support financially. I think, like with most people, they would start off with launching their business on the side. So, after hours and after they finish their work they would sit down and spend their remaining working hours or work on a project for few years until you finally see a demand for your business.”
But Anjana Regmi says fear of failure should not hold women back from starting and sustaining their business.
“We all have some knowledge and we all have some skills. Now, it’s a matter of acknowledging that knowledge, skills and your positive attitude to make things happen.”