Is the start-up club for me?

Written by Claire Kavanagh.

Established in March 2020 due to lockdown restrictions leaving many self-employed and business owners isolated, we wanted to create a new space to allow people and ideas to bump into each other – for women to get professional advice, encouragement and support.

Over 50 NZBWN members have dipped in and out over the last 18 months, asking and offering help.

Host of the Start-Up Club and Customer Experience Consultant, Claire Kavanagh, says:

“Start-up Club is my favourite Zoom of the week. It provides a safe space to ask questions and receive support. Each week I learn just as much from someone just starting out as someone who is running an established business. As the host it is my job to make each session as inclusive and friendly as possible. The best feedback I get is from new attendees saying how welcome they felt and how much value they received through advice and connections.” 

What is the format?
The weekly one-hour format is very simple: Introductions and check-ins, celebrating success (Good News Booze), requests for help and support.

Good News Booze is an essential agenda item! Taking the opportunity to celebrating the wins no matter how big or small gives each person the chance to reflect on their progress. Hearing everyone’s stories each week helps to keep us motivated.

"I joined the Start-up Club with lots of ideas for Starting up new projects. I soon discovered the Start-up club offered so much more. I dubbed it the Friday 'Start up a conversation club'. It was my go-to place to talk anything over that I was mulling around, and everyone helped to clarify thoughts in a fun way that only kiwi women do, with a can-do attitude. Good News Booze is my favourite - it taught me to go buy the Champagne and celebrate even the little wins each week." Anna Cowie, Creative Director, Kurt Louise Studios

What gets discussed?
Mostly business related, but a fair amount of social topics covered as well, depending on what is going on in the world at the time.

Many use the group as a sounding board, some for marketing and sales advice. There hasn’t been a question raised yet where someone didn’t know the answer, or knew someone who knew someone to help.

Is it for me?
If you’re a business owner, self-employed or just in the throes of thinking of starting your own business, you’re very welcome.

It is amazing how everyone has a unique perspective and we learn as much from the established business owner as from the one just starting out.

How does it help?
It’s a safe space to ask questions and get support from people just like you going through the same growing pains.

“I joined Start-Up Club in the middle of lockdown in the throws of growing my business. The support and camaraderie was amazing and it felt like a safe space to be supported through the ups and downs. It also helped me grow my visibility and following on LinkedIn as the community are very generous with likes and shares of members. My agency has since gone on to grow to 18 staff and a million pounds turnover. Groups like this made it all possible for me to deal with the growing pains!” Jessie Healy, CEO & Founder, Webtopia

Building connections
Many attendees have found friendships, new business opportunities and collaborations / partnerships through the people they’ve met at Start-Up Club.

”From the outset I felt part of something special. Claire’s leadership in this group ensures a culture I love. A culture based on honesty, openness, giving to others with zero agenda and no judgement. I have gained close friendships with people I can truly be myself with (through thick and thin, they have seen me in tears more than once). I get so much from these women; I would have struggled to get back on my feet without their genuine love and support. I have gained clients and collaborative partners from this group which has helped me in so many ways. I love Start-Up Club, long may it continue.” Lena Robinson, Founder, FTSQ

Do I have to go each week?
Once you sign up, you’ll get the Zoom link which is the same each week – pop along when it fits your schedule.

We’ve had over 50 women dip in and out over the last 18 months, typically between 4-8 joining each week.

How is it different to the other groups and events run by the network?
The network supports businesses in many ways, through masterclasses, mentoring, events etc. Because Start-Up Club is so regular and attended by women all in a similar situation, it provides practical advice and support for the week ahead.

“Start-up Club is another support mechanism that I value from the network. I had already benefited from and appreciate meeting new people in Monthly Meetups, Book Club and Running Club. The network has something for each stage of your career, life and/or business start-up.

Start-up Club is particularly helpful to me as I start a new business in a new profession as a sole trader. The Club acts as a sounding board, knowledge reservoir, direct and supportive adviser on a regular basis. It is also somewhere that I can help and support other people on their business journey.” Julie Burton, Executive Coach

How do I sign up?
Head to the events page: Start-Up Club, 12:30-13:30 every Friday. You’ll be sent the Zoom link, and we’ll see you there.

If you have any questions, contact Start-Up Club host Claire Kavanagh.

What's the Goss?