• Switzerland's news in English
My Swiss Career
'Mumpreneurs' promotes women in business

'Mumpreneurs' promotes women in business

Sophie Inge · 20 Feb 2013, 17:59

Published: 20 Feb 2013 17:59 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
Like many other expat wives, 28-year-old Lisa came here because of her husband’s job. Not only did she have to adapt to life with two small children in the canton of Zug, but she faced daily struggles with the language barrier. However, she never had any intention of abandoning her career ambitions.

Drawing on her background in marketing and product development, Lisa last month launched a Swiss “Mumpreneurs” directory — a business development service and directory for mothers in business. In May, she will be holding a Mumpreneurs women’s expo to promote and showcase women in business.

Was it hard to adjust to life in Switzerland?

I didn’t have many problems because I had no preconceptions of what the country was like — and I had a very positive attitude. There was, of course, the issue of language but I knew I could get by. I was more concerned about my son going to the local school.

The hardest thing of all was adjusting to the school hours because the kids come home at lunchtime. So you’ve got to be home between 12 and 1:30pm.

Is it distracting having your children with you while you’re working?

My kids (aged seven and three) have got to the point where they understand how important my work is. The moment I tell my daughter I’m busy on a business call, she knows not to disturb me. Arranging play dates is always a good idea – that way the kids can play with each other while you’re in a meeting.

On the plus side, anyone who works from home with their kids is teaching them important life skills.

What inspired you to start your own company?

I moved to Switzerland from the UK, where women have their own businesses and offices everywhere. When I arrived, I was shocked that there was no group specifically aimed at mothers in business. That’s the advantage of being an expat from a place like the UK or the US: you start thinking about what you’ve almost taken for granted at home.

So I started by creating a “Mumpreneurs” Facebook page. After just one week, 320 women had joined. I thought, wow! Then I decided to use my expertise to create the directory and help all these women.

Why is it so important to promote women in the business world?

There are already many women who are doing well in business and making a difference to the Swiss economy. But they’re not necessarily comfortable with marketing themselves and their ideas. I help them to get publicity and exposure. They also need support to be effective, such as childcare — which can be very expensive here. Some mothers can only find the time to work two to three hours a day.

Women are better at understanding that it’s not about competition; it’s about collaboration. So far, I’ve helped four people, including a Swedish woman who’s recently started her own grief and trauma coaching business.

What are the Swiss like?

One thing I’ve realised is that Swiss people are very good at responding. They always say “yes” or “no” right away, which means you don’t have to wait weeks for an answer.

You need to be very wary of negative stereotypes. A typical example is: “The Swiss are closed and difficult to connect with.” You really have to interact with a lot of people before you can judge for yourself. 

Have you ever had problems with Swiss bureaucracy?

It really isn’t that bad. Even if the Swiss person you’re contacting doesn’t know the answer to your question, he or she will always direct you to the right person. So you always know what you’re supposed to be doing. Of course, there are translation issues, but you almost always end up getting the right information.

And, finally – any advice for expats starting a job in Switzerland?

Trust is very important to Swiss people. They don’t do the whole email thing: they’ve got to see you face to face over coffee – then if they want to, they’ll take it from there. So I tend to suggest emailing them and saying: “I’ve got something I would like to talk to you about – can we meet?”

Story continues below…

SEE ALSO: Jobs in Switzerland - The Local

Sophie Inge (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
File photo: The Local

The cow was at risk of drowning after falling into the private pool.

Uefa Champions League
Basel 'ready for battle' in Champions League clash
Basel training in Paris. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Swiss champions Basel fancy their chances of springing a surprise when they face Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

Burst pipe causes major flood in Lausanne
The water flooded Place de la Riponne in Lausanne. File photo: Swiss Tourism/Christof Schuerpf

Water rushed down the streets after a pipe burst in the city centre.

Outcry after ‘neo-Nazi’ music festival held on Swiss soil
The village of Unterwasser was the tranquil location for the festival. Photo: Swiss Tourism

Should police have intervened?

Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Switzerland: what's not to miss? Photo: Christian Perret/Swiss Tourim

Former expats in Switzerland tell The Local what they miss about living here.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available