Former Google manager Holly Stephens is one of a growing number of Australian entrepreneurs who are building global platforms to encourage more talented women around the world to pursue side hustles and entrepreneurship.
Through the Triangles platform and mobile app, Stephens says women will have a place they can always go to for advice and connections with like-minded people.
“It forms this network where people can help each other out,” Stephens tells StartupSmart.
Triangles is among an emerging number of tech-driven platforms and communities aiming to connect and empower entrepreneurial women Down Under and beyond.
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In recent years, Australia has seen the launch of groups like Sheryl Thai’s League of Extraordinary Women, Jane Lu and Gen George’s Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine, Francesca Thorne’s Australian Women’s Network and Marisa Warren’s ELEVACAO Foundation.
The groups bring together thousands of women from the corporate sector, startups and other industries.
Triangles had 100 women sign up to the platform within four days of its launch this month and Stephens will be hosting a blindfolded dinner to celebrate.
Stephens hopes the blindfolds will allow the guests to spark fearless and powerful conversations about ambitions and entrepreneurial goals.
“There’s a lot of power that can come from that and the conversations that may come out of it,” she says.
Over the next year, Stephens will work on growing the Triangles community and hopes to partner with other organisations to drive it further.
“At the moment, within the community we have 15 founding members,” she says.
“These are women that joined the community and were actively commenting on posts and looking for events.
“The power is in the founding members who want to build this out from the bottom up … I want to see what’s working and what people want.”
From corporate world to startup life
Stephens says Triangles was inspired by her own journey from corporate world to entrepreneurship.
“I’m completely bootstrapping it and I’m doing it on the side,” she says.
While working for major tech companies like Google and Xerox, Stephens says she always had a burning desire to build something on her own but didn’t really know what exactly that would be at the time.
“I thought there must be more women that feel this way that are in a corporate role but don’t know what they really want to do,” she says.
Stephens says her time at Google, which she believes is “one of the best companies to work for”, equipped her with critical mentoring, training and experience with skills like building partnerships.
“The main thing that Google really gave me is that it still operates like a little entrepreneur group where you kind of own your own projects,” she says.
Think big, start small
Making the leap from corporate life to building a startup may seem daunting but all it takes is a little bit of action on the side to get the balls rolling, says Stephens.
“Start with baby steps, no matter how small it is … and it will work itself out,” she says.
And commit to ongoing learning, whether that’s listening to a podcast on the commute to work or spending five minutes a day reading, she says.
“Always dedicate 10 percent of your time towards learning,” she says.
Stephens also believes that new founders should not be discouraged when doubt seeps in and the prospect of failure intensifies.
“Just focus on the end goal … You’ll have really down times when you won’t be able to see how it’s going to come through,” she says.
“[Always] go back to the baby steps.”