Social entrepreneur Jo Burston has a lot to celebrate. Today is Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED), and it marks five years since she founded her profit-for-purpose business Inspiring Rare Birds.
Founded in 2013, WED is supported by not-for-profit Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organisation (WEDO), which has grown to become a powerful network for women in business, reaching over 5 billion people.
Burston is also on a mission to promote diverse and inclusive workplaces by offering programs that foster entrepreneurship and leadership skills for both women and men.
In just five years, the founder has accomplished a lot — from writing three books, to being appointed the 2015 Oceana Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and growing an international community of over 60,000 people.
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“We have made a significant impact in Australia,” Burston said in a statement.
“The number of women, men, girls and boys inspired by this story continues with a ripple effect globally.”
Recalling her first book, Australia’s 50 Influential Women Entrepreneurs, Burston said it was ground-breaking to document the trials, tribulations and successes of ordinary women who achieved extraordinary things.
“This book launched a movement,” Burston said.
WEDO works globally to empower women and girls to become active participants in the economy, by igniting a network of women leaders and entrepreneurs to found startups, drive economic expansion and advance communities globally.
While Burston is proud of all that women entrepreneurs and her organisation have achieved, she said there is still work to be done.
“There are still massive gaps in access to funding [for women],” she said.
“This is largely due to the amount of men working in venture capital.
“Despite the evidence that women entrepreneurs outperform men over time, men are more likely to invest in male-led businesses.”
Burston has high aspirations for the future of Inspiring Rare Birds, saying she wants the organisation to have a greater global impact.
I envision “a movement and voice that is recognisable and distinguishable for its impact and achievements for women entrepreneurs and leaders globally,” Burston said.
Inspiring Rare Birds has several partnerships on the horizon, and Burston also intends to write another book that will put the spotlight on women in business.