We were thrilled to speak with Nicolette Beard, co-founder of We Are Womxn, and one of this year’s GEC speakers. With experience in health promotion and teaching, Nicolette is dedicated to providing tailored education and uplifting female adolescents. Recognising the lack of female-centric education, Nicolette, along with Co-Founder Kate Raston, embarked on a mission to break down barriers and ignite transformation. Her passion lies in health education for young women in Western Australia, aiming to create positive change and empower future generations. Nicolette’s journey is one of authenticity, challenging norms, and using education as a transformative force to guide women towards empowerment and lasting impact.

As a prominent figure in entrepreneurship and innovation, what aspects of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) have you found most valuable for fostering international collaboration and building a unified global ecosystem?

I have never attended the GEC before, but I am thoroughly looking forward to speaking this September and being involved in the congress. Through networking, knowledge sharing, and showcasing innovative ventures, the GEC brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and experts from around the world, something I am very excited to be a part of. This platform allows for the exchange of ideas, experiences, and best practices, leading to valuable collaborations and partnerships.

The diverse range of workshops, panel discussions, and presentations at the GEC offer insights into different entrepreneurial ecosystems and emerging trends. By learning from successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders, we are excited to gain valuable knowledge and perspectives that can be applied to our own ventures.

With your extensive experience, could you share an example of a challenge you’ve faced in your entrepreneurial journey that required innovative thinking to overcome? What lessons did you learn from that experience?

In starting We Are Womxn, we faced numerous challenges that persist to this day. These hurdles included constant questioning of our qualifications and knowledge to educate students on gender disparities, consent education, and toxic relationships. Many people believed this work was unnecessary, denying the existence of these issues in society. This scepticism reinforced the belief that young women’s concerns and educational needs were not taken seriously. Societal perceptions that undermined the legitimacy of our work as women added to the challenges.

However, these obstacles taught us valuable lessons. We learned to assert our expertise and prove our qualifications through our work. We found alternative ways to reach our audience by partnering with community organisations and leveraging social media. We developed resilience and persistence, advocating for the importance of this health education. We also became resourceful in seeking funding opportunities through grants, crowdfunding, and partnerships. These challenges strengthened our determination and commitment to our mission, driving us to overcome obstacles and make a meaningful impact.

The GEC emphasises actionable intelligence and collective action. In your view, what role do shared knowledge and collaborative initiatives play in accelerating innovation and business growth on a global scale?

I truly believe that collaboration is the key to unlocking new possibilities. When we bring together diverse perspectives and combine our resources, skills, and expertise, we gain a deeper understanding of the challenges we face and the opportunities that lie ahead. Collaboration not only fuels faster innovation and problem- solving, but it also fosters continuous learning and development.

In the ever-evolving landscape of 2023, collaboration becomes even more crucial. By working together, we can stay ahead of emerging technologies and trends, ensuring that our businesses thrive in this rapidly changing environment. Collaborative networks open doors to global markets, providing access to new resources and expertise that can help us expand our reach and explore exciting growth opportunities, something we are very passionate about at We Are Womxn.

Entrepreneurship often involves navigating uncertainty and taking calculated risks. Can you highlight a situation where you had to make a pivotal decision for your venture amidst uncertainty? How did you approach it, and what factors guided your choice?

Starting our business, We Are Womxn, was a pivotal risk, as we were uncertain if it would be accepted and valued in society. Embracing risks is an integral aspect of entrepreneurship, however, driven by our knowledge and skill set, we recognised the urgent need for this education and were passionate enough to launch our business amidst the uncertainty of its success. Our decision was guided by personal experience, market research, and the lack of this type of education currently accessible for young women. Our goal was to empower and educate young women, creating a safe and inclusive space where they could feel confident in themselves. Despite the challenges, we believed in the importance of providing this education and were determined to make a positive impact. With our expertise and dedication, we set out to empower young women, ensuring they had the tools and knowledge needed to thrive in society.

The GEC brings together diverse voices from over 200 countries. How important is cultural intelligence and adaptability when it comes to creating an inclusive global ecosystem for entrepreneurship? Could you share an experience that highlights the significance of understanding different cultural perspectives in business?

Cultural intelligence and adaptability are crucial for building an inclusive global entrepreneurship ecosystem. In today’s interconnected world, businesses interact with diverse cultures, making it essential to understand and appreciate different cultural norms and practices. Cultural intelligence enables effective navigation of cultural differences, fostering communication, trust, and respect. By embracing cultural diversity, entrepreneurs gain access to a wealth of perspectives, ideas, and experiences, driving innovation and creativity. Adaptability is equally important, allowing entrepreneurs to tailor strategies, products, and services to meet the needs of different cultural contexts. Adapting to local customs and business practices demonstrates respect and sensitivity, vital for success in diverse markets.

At We Are Womxn, we prioritise cultural adaptation and education for women and girls from diverse backgrounds. Our goal is to create an inclusive environment where participants feel accepted, valued, and empowered. By providing culturally sensitive education, we equip individuals with knowledge that resonates with their specific cultural context, fostering a sense of belonging. Through embracing diversity and adapting our work, we aim to create a transformative experience where everyone benefits from our inclusive approach.