Money Talk:

It’s not al­ways easy to fol­low your ca­reer as a trail­ing spouse and mum. Some­times you have to forge a new path.

Expat Living (Singapore) - - Contents -

How the Ladies In­vest­ment Club can help

TANYA ROLFE is on a mis­sion to help women help women, a mis­sion born out of a need of her own to find bal­ance in her life. She moved to Sin­ga­pore from Lon­don with two small chil­dren and a back­ground in cor­po­rate merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions. Jug­gling a big ca­reer and two lit­tle ones in nap­pies wasn’t work­ing; she knew she needed a change. Around the same time, she in­vested in a night­club in Clarke Quay and an idea was born.

“I en­joyed man­ag­ing the in­vest­ment and be­ing in­volved in a very dif­fer­ent in­dus­try,” says Tanya. “It gave me the idea to in­vest in other start-up busi­nesses, but per­haps find some oth­ers to do it with me. I missed the team­work that large or­gan­i­sa­tions of­fer so I tried to recre­ate this. Only, this time, I could hand pick who I worked with and what to work on!”

So, Tanya reached out to women in business net­work­ing groups as well as some moth­ers’ groups, and the Ladies In­vest­ment Club (LIC) was born. A mix of lo­cals and ex­pats, some mem­bers are in­vest­ment pros, while oth­ers have no ex­pe­ri­ence what­so­ever, join­ing to learn more about in­vest­ing and run­ning a cor­po­ra­tion. To­gether, the mem­bers of LIC re­view women-led busi­nesses seek­ing fund­ing. Each woman de­cides which com­pany she wants to sup­port and how much she wants to give. They pool the funds and act as angel in­vestors. LIC then goes a step be­yond, with mem­bers in­vest­ing their time, too. They be­come in­volved with the com­pany, sup­port­ing the business with their knowl­edge, of­ten help­ing shape and guide the di­rec­tion of the start-up.

Tanya has a Sin­ga­porean man­ag­ing co-founder, GAIL WONG, a magna cum laude grad­u­ate from Whar­ton Business School and a Mor­gan Stan­ley alum. Pro­fes­sion­ally, she runs a fi­nan­cial coach­ing business, Live True, a com­pany also born out of a need to rein­vent her­self to find bal­ance.

Gail says LIC is good for the mem­bers, but also good for those be­ing sup­ported – and not just be­cause of the funds. “My own ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing the mi­nor­ity fe­male (and Asian) in business un­der­lines the lone­li­ness that can come with start­ing a business. Women have to ful­fil higher stan­dards, over­come higher scep­ti­cism and han­dle a typ­i­cally more com­plex life amidst their pro­fes­sional ca­pac­i­ties. Be­ing sup­ported by LIC is in­cred­i­bly help­ful.”

Some ex­am­ples of in­vest­ments in­clude Gifts Less Or­di­nary, an e-com­merce plat­form for high-end per­son­alised gifts; and Klaud9, a business where mar­keters and ad­ver­tis­ers can find com­pre­hen­sive stock pho­tos for Asia.

How are they do­ing? Well, it can take three to five years to see a real re­turn, but the ini­tial mark­ers are pos­i­tive.

Want to get in­volved? Great! Just join. Or, if noth­ing else, sup­port the busi­nesses LIC sup­ports. Buy a present for a friend from Gifts Less Or­di­nary with a card made from a photo you buy from Klaud9. Ev­ery lit­tle thing we do to help these fe­male-driven busi­nesses helps all women in business in the end.

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