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'Focus on being an awesome entrepreneur - not a female one'

Margi Murphy | July 22, 2014
The field is open for women to do what they want in business, says Melinda Nicci.

Focus on the fact that you are an entrepreneur not that you are a woman, founder of start-up Baby2Body told fledgling businesswomen at Tech Entrepreneur Week in London.

"There are always challenges to being a woman entrepreneur but the field is open for us -- we can do whatever we like," said Melinda Nicci, who sought work in a large corporate, consumer technology company Philips, to expand her business management after running her own company for nearly two decades.

South Africa-born Nicci moved to London while she was pregnant and found there was a gap in the market for prenatal and postnatal fitness and nutrition advice. She set up and ran Baby2Body for 17 years until she hit a plateau.

She said: "I was able to bring up two kids through Baby2Body. It saw me through a divorce and through loss of a parent. It was my third baby. I was at the school gates every day, I could manage my time and manage my hours. But people would ask 'how are you going to scale?'

"I couldn't understand why I would need to. So I did something radical. I was too attached to the business. I knew I needed to take a step away."

Nicci saw that health technology was "worth looking at". After gaining a qualification in sports science, Nicci found a job at Philips in the innovation team in Amsterdam.

Working for someone else put Nicci in "in a quagmire of politics that I completely wasn't used to," she said.

"I went from being my own boss to a corporate with hardly any women at C-level."

Using her experience at a large company, Nicci recently reopened Baby2Body, and she is now pitching to investors to give the business a technology angle.

Samsung and Microsoft leads also had advice for entrepreneurs during the conference.


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