Momtrepreneur Exchange (http://momtrepreneurexchange.com) is a real, live and local monthly meeting where mothers who are also entrepreneurs around the same geographic location can exchange, connect and learn from one another. Such meetings give them the opportunity to swap start-up stories, interact with experts, and build personal and professional – as well as emotional – connections. A support group, if you will.
Momtrepreneur Exchange was founded by Jill Salzman last year, who started the one in Oak Park, Illinois. She expected to meet up with four or five entrepreneurs who also had children – at the end of 6 months, she already had 215 members. This inspired to take this to another level. She was inspired to start this after she recognized a real need for it after she opened her first one. “It occurred to me that there must be a lot of women everywhere who identify as momtrepreneurs,” she says. Her gut instinct proved her right – five months after opening the second Momtrepreneur Exchange in New York City, she connected 800 more mom entrepreneurs in 22 cities across the United States.
“These momtrepreneurs keep coming out of the woodwork. Working mothers need momraderie. Momtrepreneur Exchanges fill that void,” Jill says.
At each Exchange, members gather at a local coffee shop to network, educate and learn about each other’s businesses and how they can improve. They meet for one hour, once a month, and annual dues are US$10.
But Jill says that it’s not just about connecting such momtrepreneurs. “I hope to achieve not only a simpler, easier way for momtrepreneurs to help one another out in building their businesses, but I’d also like to bring us as a group to the attention of corporations, marketers and other industries that don’t pay much attention to us yet,” she declares. ” There’s a real need here for these women to receive the same aid that young women in business, or young entrepreneurs, receive from a myriad of companies.”
“Moms are serious businesswomen too,” she says, adding that mom entrepreneurs are the fastest-growing, most lucrative and under-the-radar demographic in the country. They’re probably the most under-served too, but that is slowly changing: Jill shares that sponsors – brands like Dove, Sonsi and Sittercity – are already vying for the opportunity to reach these women face-to-face.
Today, Momtrepreneur Exchange is in 25 US cities – closer to home in Asia, the first opened in Brisbane, Australia. “I’m really looking forward to opening Mumtrepreneur Exchanges all over the world, including Asia,” says Jill, “but it will take finding the right hosts to do it.”