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Why women in ag are #winning at entrepreneurship.

Until 1994 women were not legally able to call themselves a farmer. Instead, they were referred to as ‘farmers wives’, ‘domestics’ or ‘help mates’. Even though women have been an essential part of agriculture for centuries, this had done historical damage and made many female farmers in the community feel invisible (1).

Fast forward nearly 30 years, and things have changed. Women have overcome barriers such as the lack of self-confidence and pushing back on such topics as ‘imposter syndrome’ and are changing the face of agriculture. Women make up 55% of the students studying agricultural science at University (2), and they are leading the way with food innovation, entrepreneurship and finance in the ag industry. Here are just a few reasons why women are #winning in agriculture here in Australia:

Women are all too familiar with challenges. Juggling the usual balls of family and work, plus fitting in some ‘me time’, is an uphill battle. When it comes to entrepreneurship, overcoming those challenges in everyday life prepares women for the rollercoaster ride of running a business. Many women entrepreneurs find ways of doing more with less and, quite frankly, just get it done!

It is not a surprise that females are good planners, which is an excellent skill for structuring and organising business and having the foresight to plan ahead.

Never underestimate a woman’s ability to multitask! Being able to work on multiple areas of your business at once is the foundation of entrepreneurship.

Numerous famous women entrepreneurs have a high level of empathy in their business dealings, not just with employees but also with customers. Empathy helps them build relationships and trust.

In a business, it is essential to ask hard questions. Most entrepreneurs shy away from this as they don’t want to become uncomfortable with any answers they might get. On the other hand, women are keen to challenge the status quo and find out what works, what does not work, and what needs to change.

Now more than ever, in this post COVID world, women see the importance of family. Women entrepreneurs tend to design their business models around ‘family time’ and encourage employees to do the same.

Go hard or go home! Women are damn hard workers. Often will work tirelessly to get a job finished and think outside the box to solve problems.

An all-female team leads Farmers2Founders, and we understand that primary producers are juggling even more balls than usual, throwing in drought, fires, remoteness and the 24/7 pace of agriculture. Our team is here to support you and your business at any stage.

F2F has seen first hand how innovative woman producers are. During the recent Ideas Program recruitment, 54% of applications were from women. The standard of applications was extremely high, considering it was post-COVID and the terrible fires and drought our Australian farmers have endured. The quality and high percentage of applications from women is a testament to the determination and resilience of the female founders in the agricultural community.

We have had many successful women entrepreneurs come through our F2F programs and have found success with their business, here is a snapshot of just a few!

Fiona Turner is one of the owners of Jinglers Creek vineyard in Launceston, Tasmania. Over the last 15 years, she has worked in senior technology roles at companies including Nukon, AECOM, and ESRI Australia, with a focus on spatial systems software development.

Their key focus during the program was developing its sales process to target these large enterprises and move leads through this pipeline. They set up their CRM on Hubspot and began actively working on these sales conversations. At the end of the Bootcamp Bitwise successfully signed a $120,000 pilot contract with the local subsidiary of one of the world’s largest wine companies. 6 months after the Bootcamp program Bitwise commenced fundraising, raising $155,000 from angel investors in a few months. Fiona and Aran were able to leave their full-time jobs to enter the business full-time and increase the team to 8 part-time team members.

You can read more about Fiona’s success with the F2F Bootcamp program here

Phillipa Lawson came into the F2F Ideas Program with an idea for a high protein, gluten-free flour made from lentils aimed at those with dietary requirements and looking for healthier options than conventional flours. At the end of the 3-month Ideas Program, Phillipa launched her online shop to sell 1kg bags of high protein, gluten-free lentil flour and had her products stocked in a local shop.

Phillipa has now progressed to the F2F Bootcamp program and working hard to get her product stocked in more retail stores around South Australia and continue to build her marketing activities and work on her pitch to investors.

'I still feel as though I have so much to learn in the world of business which I do find exciting! I'm thankful for this opportunity that F2F has given me and I feel very focused on what I need to achieve over the next six months!’.

You can read more about Pip’s success with the F2F Ideas program here

Fiona Aveyard is an award-winning 5th generation farmer in Tullamore, NSW. Fiona applied to the 2019 Bootcamp with an idea to extend their offering and further add value to their lamb by creating Outback Lamb Sausage Rolls.

Fiona wanted help to develop the Outback Lamb brand and positioning and reach new customers. Over the Bootcamp, she worked on product and brand development, packaging design, distribution strategy and market research on customers. 6 months after the Bootcamp program Outback Lamb has been able to achieve a 60% increase in carcass value (from $250 to over $400 per animal) from the development of their sausage roll.

You can read more about Fiona’s success with the F2F Bootcamp program here

This International Women’s Day, we #choosetochallenge you to step out of the box, step up and ask the hard questions. Now is a great time to pursue that idea you have had and take it out of the ‘too hard box’. To celebrate the power of women entrepreneurs and empower you to take the next step in your business we have started a Facebook group named: F2F Female Founders. We invite you to join the group which is a safe space to learn, share ideas and be inspired by other women entrepreneurs who have gone before you! You can join the group via this link or scan the QR code.

  1. Shepherd.B (24/08/2019) The female farmers taking a stand to change the face of Australian agriculture

  2. Lindhe.J (05/12/19) How women are transforming agriculture in Australia


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