About HK Momtrepreneurs
HK Momtrepreneurs is a nonprofit organisation aimed at teaching mothers and families the skill of entrepreneurship and empowering women to achieve and fulfil their career goals while still balancing their families and communities. Recently, we sat down with HK Momtrepreneurs founder Lena Wong to discuss her experiences with the organisation as well as to listen to her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
HK Momtrepreneurs Founder Lena Wong
What inspired her to start HK Momtrepreneurs?
When asked what inspired her to start HK Momtrepreneurs, Wong discussed her own experience as a mother looking to start a business. Sought as she might, she couldn’t find a community that provided the support and information she desired. So she decided to start her own Facebook page where she shared the knowledge and wisdom she had acquired. Over time, she started meeting more and more women in similar positions through the page.
From Facebook page to NGO…
Wong wanted to go back to work, but now a mother of two, her outlook on life had changed and she wanted to make a difference in the world. So in late 2018, she transferred the idea of HK Momtrepreneurs from a Facebook page to an official nonprofit organization.
What was the largest issue she faced?
How can a non-profit coexist with entrepreneurship?
In its early stages, Wong remembers HK Momtrepreneur’s largest issue being how people viewed it. It was new, “momtrepreneurs” was a term she had coined, and people often questioned why a nonprofit existed for entrepreneurship. To overcome these issues, Wong explained she simply focused on educating people and sharing what HK Momtrepreneurs stood for. She emphasized all startups, not just hers, face this need to tell society why it needs you.
Wong also expressed gratitude for the support she had received. Among others, she mentioned the encouraging general manager of a coworking space as well as a bank that waived fees for them.
In the past, she explained that HK Momtreprenuers had worked more like a professional organization and less like a typical charity. But in 2020, HK Momtreprenuers launched a fellowship program aimed at expanding the organization’s reach to different socioeconomic classes. She made this addition, recognizing that while starting businesses, women from less fortunate socioeconomic backgrounds often face the same difficulties as wealthier women while also dealing with more challenges. With this fellowship program, Wong feels HK Momtrepreneus now has a more solid base as a nonprofit.
Transformation of a hesitant mother
When asked about any memorable stories, Wong had two instances to talk about. The first was a full-time mother she met at a networking event. While fairly educated, the woman hadn’t worked for the past twenty years, long enough that she was no longer comfortable in a professional environment and struggled making strong eye contact. She had lost her confidence in meeting strangers. However, she and Wong still clicked and talked for a while. Just a few months later, this woman had opened her own business (a co-creating space with a kitchen and sewing room), and her whole energy had changed. When Wong asked the woman what had led to her dramatic change in personality, the woman explained that it just was the experience of empowering other women to create that had empowered her.
Paths are intertwined
Wong’s second story was about a sleeping coach/consultant who was going to be a speaker at one of HK Momtrepreneurs upcoming events. In the confirmation meeting, the sleeping coach mentioned that the two women had actually briefly crossed paths once before. She had been in the audience of a panel Wong had participated in. The woman had been inspired enough to make a change in her career path and similarly become an entrepreneur. Wong explained this story had stuck with her because that experience of a small moment changing the course of one’s life was familiar to her.
Story between GoBuddy and HK Momtrepreneurs
When asked about things that aided HK Momtrepreneurs’s development, Wong talked about GoBuddy. She met GoBuddy founder Kow at a seminar, and after seeing a demo of GoBuddy’s features, she decided to utilize its services. She explained how happy she was to have the support it provided. For example, HK Momtrepreneurs often hosts events, and registration had always been a hassle. But with GoBuddy, the relatively low-cost registration system now handles the difficult elements for her.
Words for future entrepreneurs
In the close of the interview, Wong imparted a few words of advice. First, she advised all businesses to have diversity. For her business, that means she is working towards including male and female voices, those of parents and those without children. But she emphasized the need for diversity in all its aspects.
She also suggested that those who wish to be entrepreneurs, both men and women, should establish their businesses before having children. Her reasoning is that after having children it takes time to adjust to your new life, and if you run your own business, you can control your reentry to the workforce and gradually settle back in at your own pace.
Wong’s last piece of advice was to work for a big corporation after finishing school befores starting your own business if possible. She explained that doing so provides the chance to explore and understand what work suits you best. Some may find that they are built for the corporate world, and it is also an easier transition from the corporate world to entrepreneurship than the other way around. Starting a business also requires money, so savings from a corporate salary will help pay bills later on. Lastly, job qualifications build your reputation and improve your potential when heading into establishing a business.