Global Leaders, Female Entrepreneurs WorldWide
Meet Anna Wong and Ines Gafsi, Founders of FEW; the world renown platform for Female Entrepreneurs. These two business leaders decided to merge their backgrounds in marketing and business development to create a hub for women. Founded in Hong Kong, but with an international angle, FEW has quickly become the go-to reference for networking with likeminded professionals. Keep reading to find out the story behind women who are inspiring others to chase their dreams and follow their passion.
Ines is a social media expert and community leader. She began her career in France where she developed strong leadership and expertise in brand building, strategic partnerships, digital marketing, e-commerce and CRMs across the luxury and F&B industries.
Anna is a futurist - she manages strategic planning and development, corporate relationships, branding and content strategy for FEW. In the past year, she has successfully gained the company cash sponsorship from leading corporates to aid operations. She has also developed excellent corporate relationships with multinational companies including Google, JP Morgan, Swire Holding, MTR Corporation, Huawei Technology, Tencent, Global Sources and China South City.
What made you decide to launch Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide?
Ines: I've been in HK for the last five years, I was working in the luxury industry and I wanted to get closer to the Chinese market. Anna and I met at an event in HK, at a TED Talk, and we realized we both shared the same ambition to start our own business and create a community for entrepreneurs. That's why we started FEW. It's been 2 years now.
Did you alway know you wanted to be an entrepreneur ?
Anna: Yes actually, before FEW I had other companies before, so that's why I think it's something I want to continue to do.
Ines: For me it was something I had in my mind I just didn't know quite what it would be - I've tried different businesses but nothing I got really excited about and when meeting with Anna it felt very natural to start FEW and grow the community organically.
What services do you offer at FEW?
Anna: We started with offline events, we partner with big companies to decide the content covering from investment, legal, marketing technology and for our members to learn. It's not just networking - we offer advice in each industry. We launched our APP recently where women can get advice on starting their own companies.
Ines: The APP is available on the Apple Store, by searching FEW Community - we have a Chinese and English version.
Can you tell us about a specific challenge you faced when you first launched your company ?
Ines: There's a lot. At the beginning it was literally just Anna and I who managed everything, so we had to be adaptable, having to wear a lot of different hats. Our main challenge was also finding the team, creating talents, and also growing. Now expending in new markets overseas is a challenge as well, finding new partners, etc.
It's an amazing journey, we're learning a lot along the way and we're ready to take on more challenges along the way to build this global community.
Where do you see FEW in the next 5 years ?
Anna: FEW to us is not just a company, it's a brand and we want to expand to other cities in the next few years. We have women in other cities/countries like Singapore, Silicon Valley, Dubai who would like to run FEW in these cities so that's something we will be focusing on.
What advice would you give yourself when you first started ?
Anna: I would say to find a business model that will work. A lot of ideas won't work in the market so it's important to make sure your business is viable.
Ines: Your expectation on time is a big thing. We're very excited to do a lot of things and now we realize that we are much stronger focusing on one area of the business for it to be successful.
What motivates you to keep going and pushing the envelope ?
Anna: When it comes to the future plan for FEW is we have the same goal and vision. This is why we work hard and we push ourselves to continuously grow.
Ines: I think we're very driven by the constant messages we receive from women from our community that felt truly inspired or that we helped. We have tons of amazing stories from women who came to our conference and were hesitant to pursue their dream and create their business but felt much more motivated and having the support system were they can find business partners and having an impact in peoples lives is what motivates us.
What does success represent to you ?
Ines: Success is defined in many different ways, we want to help women start their business, grow their business and really being able to have a sustainable business.
Anna: We have different definitions of success: [To us] we want women to chase their dreams without limitations. We wanted to create a platform, with positive energy, we want women to make something happen, to build success stories, to do something they have passion for - in a better way. We want to be the solution to their problems in a personal and business sense.
Future projects coming up for FEW ?
Our annual conference will take place this year in Shenzhen, China. We're gathering female leaders and entrepreneurs from all around the world to listen to inspiring women worldwide.
It's our third edition. The first edition took place in Hong Kong, we partnered with KPMG, Silicon Valley Bank to really bring interesting content to entrepreneurs and we had speakers from different parts of the world.
Our last edition was in Shanghai, and we partnered with Xintiandi and Elle Magazine.
We're excited to build new partnerships with local business leaders and also welcoming women from all around the world.
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