Macau | First women’s edition of Startup Weekend seeking to break conservatism

Macau (MNA) – A Startup Weekend event focusing on female entrepreneurs will be held in September to promote and attract local businesswomen to share their experiences with the mandate of coaching young women hoping to start their own business.

Two of the organisers of the event, Stephanie and Venus, told Macau News Agency (MNA) that not many similar events have been previously held in the city.

“In the past, we have held the Startup Weekend with themes like tourism and food, but we think that not many of such events focus on women,” said Venus.

She added that the theme choice was sparked by their discussion with organisers of similar events held around the world, that many startups are mainly initiated by men.

“Overall the number of women who initiated startups has not increased over the past five years,” said Stephanie, one of the organisers, “many of whom weren’t able to acquire funding.”

Although both organisers are not entrepreneurs themselves, they believe female entrepreneurs in Macau tend to have low profiles, with the majority seldom sharing their experiences due to a more conservative mindset.

“Plus the environment for startups in Macau is not as good as [in other regions], with the number of startups in the city being already fewer than other places,” said Stephanie. “Not to mention the even fewer startups created by females.”

Although considering that Macau’s business environment has improved, given the many policies introduced by the Macau SAR Government encouraging young people to start their own business ventures, Venus opined that the challenge for local startups is not the lack of opportunities but the local market as well as social preconceptions.

“In Macau, people are more cautious; they tend to have ideas that fit with local demands rather than worldwide demands,” remarked Venus.

By holding the Startup Weekend event they hope to promote local female entrepreneurs, raising awareness towards them as well as informing young people about the practicalities of starting a business.

“The event does not simply ask participants to create a business such as opening a coffee shop with large amounts of capital to be invested,” noted Stephanie. “It will teach participants to develop their business idea and create the entire prototype so as to be able to build a business model and to present it in a pitch.”

In addition, through holding the women’s edition of the Startup Weekend, they hope to increase the level of inclusiveness of women in starting up their own business projects as well as encouraging them to learn and get involved in startups, in particular in male dominated industries.

The two organisers also disclosed that they had encountered difficulties in finding a female IT developer.

“In Macau, there really are very few women who engage in the IT industry, so we need to train them also to work in this industry as many men do if they are interested,” remarked Venus.

The organisers are aiming to attract 40 participants to the event, hoping that some young men will also sign up.

“We don’t want to make the event women-exclusive; it is important to have men support women [in terms of building business] because both sexes are equal,” said Stephanie.

The Startup Weekend women edition will be held from September 7 to 9, with the event being a partner of Business Awards of Macau.