New group will not keep mum over plans

TRAILBLAZERS Mumpreneurs founders, from left, Nicky Chisholm and Sara Guiel with her daughter Jemima
TRAILBLAZERS Mumpreneurs founders, from left, Nicky Chisholm and Sara Guiel with her daughter Jemima
Picture: Paul Jacobs (142476-229) PPP-140824-032155001

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There is a quiet revolution going on.

Groups of mums are coming together to find out how they can run busy households and at the same time start or grow their own businesses.

It’s called the Mumpreneurs Networking Group, and tomorrow Portsmouth will see the launch of the first group in the city.

It will be led by Sarah Pilbeam (pictured), who runs her own coaching firm to help others get qualified.

She said: ‘I’ve lived in Portsmouth all my life and there is a wealth of talented people who’ve set their own businesses up here, and quite a few of my friends have had successful businesses in the city.

‘A few of them have also set up businesses fairly recently, and I just felt that having been to the Mumpreneurs in Emsworth and got to know the group in a small way, that there must be that untapped talent in Portsmouth and it would be great to try and bring the people together.’

Mumpreneurs works on a simple premise.

It’s a way for business women to get together at a time that’s convenient to them.

More often than not business networking events are held early in the morning or after the standard working day finished.

That’s a problem for busy mums – and dads – who are trying to get their children to and from school, feed the family, or other home duties.

‘I have two children, but they’re grown up now and I’m a grandmother,’ said Sarah.

‘So I’ve got a bit more time to devote to my business and to think about where I want it to go.’

It’s that freedom of time which Sarah says will help her to help other women make the connections they need to boost their businesses.

And she said it didn’t take her very long to feel a Mumpreneurs group was needed in Portsmouth.

She said: ‘I only went to the Emsworth group once.

‘I met the manager of that group at a different networking event and spoke to her more about the Mumpreneurs group.

‘We were in a very vibrant environment at the time so I went along to her Emsworth meeting and I just knew it was the sort of thing I could get involved in.

‘I could definitely see it working in Portsmouth.’

The networking group is open to everyone, not necessarily just women with young children.

All are welcome to attend the launch to find out more, which is being held at the Abarbistro in Old Portsmouth between 10.30am and 11am.

Portsmouth will be the 16th Mumpreneur group in the UK, and Sarah says its ethos fits in well with her own business.

She coaches people to gain qualifications in customer services, running workshops specifically so people can improve their skills.

She is linking this with the Mumpreneurs and launching an offshoot, which she is calling Coffee Coach, an informal place for anyone to chat about anything affecting their business.

Sarah, who lives in Widley, says running the two groups is a way for her to give something back to a business community which has supported her during her business life.

She added: ‘When you go to these types of meetings and events and get to know the people who go regularly, you get to know people’s strengths.

‘I’ve now got the time to recognise that and it’s something I’ve got some experience in, both in business and in working with people, so it’s something I hope I can bring to people, and bring people together who can benefit from collaborations or from telling other people about their business and what they do.’

Mumpreneur members range from those who have recently set up a business from their kitchen table, for example, to those whose businesses turn over £1m a year.

Being a member of the club means business men and women can attend any Mumpreneur group anywhere else in the UK.

As well as Emsworth, there are groups available in Chichester, London and soon in Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent, which will be the 17th group.

To find out more about Mumpreneurs, see agoodgossip.co.uk/articles/portsmouth or attend the launch.

IDEA IS SPREADING

THE Portsmouth Mumpreneurs group is the second to launch in Hampshire since the first in the country was established three years ago by Nicky Chisholm and Sara Guiel.

They started the whole thing in Brighton, followed closely by Worthing.

Sara said: ‘It’s a business support network, and it’s run by members for business members.

‘There’s lots of parental support out there, and there’s lots of business support, but there’s nothing really combining the two.

‘Parents have got to make concessions with their time that might not be beneficial for their business.

‘This way they can support their business and do the school run.’

Sara stressed that, despite the name, the Mumpreneur Network is not exclusive to business mums.

She said there are a few men who go along to some of the meetings, but the way the network is run – to allow busy parents to attend networking sessions in the middle of the day when they don’t have family commitments – will not change.

She added: ‘We did think this would only appeal to business mums, actually, but over the past three years we have actually had a lot of interest from other people.

‘We’re not an exclusive network.’

The idea behind Mumpreneurs was inspired by personal frustrations that Sara and Nicky were not able to make any networking events.

Sara added: ‘We were just bemoaning the fact we couldn’t get to any of them.’

‘We had our first meeting in Brighton Marina, and we had 20 people through the door.

‘We thought we’d better see how it went in other towns before we launched properly.’

The networking events often have guest speakers and are usually finished by lunchtime.

And what about the future?

‘We’ve just taken on our 17th manager for Tunbridge Wells, and we want to expand more into Hampshire,’ said Sara.