Trena Blair’s Tips On Doing Business In The US

Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
on 24 January 2018

New York was recently named as the global capital in the Dell Corporation’s Women Entrepreneur Cities Index, which measures a city’s ability to nurture and support women in business. Now Australian female entrepreneurs will get the chance to feel the Big Apple love, with the launch of a New York Immersion Program, targeted at Aussie female Entrepreneurs, putting them in front and centre with US  investors and potential customers. 

Trena Blair, CEO of FD Global Connections talks about the NY Immersion program

According to venture capital database Pitchbook, in 2016 venture capitalists invested $58.2 billion in companies with all-male founders compared to just  $1.46 billion for female founders. For the 5,839 male-founded companies that got VC funding, only 359 female-founded companies did.

It doesn’t need to be so dire if we support each other. I believe smart women make magic happen. Women are creative, and those in tech seem to combine this with amazing skills in STEM subjects – just look at Canva and HumanSuper to see what happens when these two strong traits are combined.

Sydney is good at supporting women, but New York is far ahead

After spending time in New York, and being involved in fantastic US women’s business networks, I returned to Australia to see just how far behind New York we were, regarding how we support women. And to be honest, we aren’t going too badly, with Sydney ranking second in the world in Dell’s Women Entrepreneurs Index. But New York is still well ahead.

I was involved in mentoring women to achieve their personal best in New York,  but I redoubled my efforts when I came home and helped to found the American Express Women’s Network Australia and New Zealand, now a global model for women’s networks. I am also a member of SWIT (Supporting Women in Tech) which establishes tech programs in schools and universities for women.

My company, FD Global Connections,  seeks to help all entrepreneurs, already succeeding here, to make the transition to the US stage, but I remain passionate about women’s issues, hence my NYC Immersion program for female entrepreneurs.

Women are still a little quiet and reticent to ask for help.

There’s nothing like jumping in the deep end in New York to see if there is a better way.  I went to a women’s networking function while I was still quite junior, and, determined to impress the senior colleague who invited me, I sat and listened quietly until she urged me to ask a question of the speaker and thrust one onto my hand. She counselled me on the importance of questioning to demonstrate respect and interest in the speaker, and afterwards, I found conversations with other delegates opened up, about the topics I had mentioned. I now ensure I always contribute to networking functions.

Women also tend to rely on themselves to solve issues, when there’s willing help available to those entrepreneurs who seek assistance or advice. New York is the type of environment where it is seen as a strength, not a weakness, to ask for help. Just like the networking function, it shows respect for others’ knowledge and experience, and who could fail to be flattered and respond under those circumstances?

FD Global Connections’ New York Immersion program is aimed at  Start-Ups and SMEs, led by women, which are already successful in Australia. It is supported by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and is in partnership with Tyro FinTech Hub and Qantas Business Rewards. Participants will attend workshops in Sydney, and a one-week intensive program with Lab1492, a highly successful New York-based accelerator, where they will meet potential investors and customers. Applications close on 2 April. Further details can be found here.

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