Women entrepreneurs need to give themselves more credit for their success, says Rare Birds and Job Capital founder and CEO Jo Burston.
Speaking at an EO conference in Melbourne she said she had interviewed hundreds of businesswomen in the past year, “but the most difficult thing was getting them to give themselves a pat on the back and say, ‘I’m really good at what I do’.
“And this is not men versus women. This is us,” she said. “Entrepreneurship is a conversation that requires diversification. I’d love to see more of the incredible women I know giving themselves the recognition they deserve.”
Jo Burston explained how she personally has a goal of fulfilment, rather than happiness. “Happiness is self-defined,” she said.
“With Job Capital, my goal was to reach the top, the fastest I could. But I wasn’t fulfilled. I didn’t feel like I was meeting my purpose.”
Changing the narrative
Jo Burston told the room about two entrepreneurial award ceremonies she had attended where she was the only woman present. To try and understand why most women were not seeing entrepreneurship as a viable career option, she went back to her old high school. It was there that she realised the narrative given to girls and boys needed to change.
“The script running through my head when I was 13 was to graduate, get a job, get a husband, have two kids, get two cars and maybe an in-ground swimming pool,” she laughed.
The realisation that many of the girls she spoke to at the school still followed this pattern of thought devastated her.
“They didn’t see that there is a choice. They didn’t know what an entrepreneur is. I want every little girl and every little boy to be able to say, ‘one day, I want to own a business’.”
This year, Rare Birds will launch access to an academy as part of its strategy to make this awareness possible. Designed with Dr Richard Seymour, the University of Sydney’s senior lecturer in entrepreneurship, the academy will consist of a six-week course designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs design and plan a business.
Jo Burston is excited about the possibilities the launch of the academy holds, but would also like to see women entrepreneurs give themselves due credit.