A state-of-the-art office isn’t always necessary to run a start-up: Denise Tudor, Barbara Pletzer and Kerstin Tudor, three women from Frankenfels (St. Poulten district) each manage their start-ups from home. The trio founded a sustainable fashion label called “Ecologe Fashion” in 2016 to fulfill a long cherished dream.
Kerstin Tudor is responsible for procurement and administration, Dennis Tudor for sales and Barbara Pletzer for clothing design and marketing. The special thing about the fashion line: “Our clothes are made only under proper conditions and exclusively with organic and ecological ingredients. The designs are hand crafted and we have three seamstresses in the area to make the clothes,” says Kerstin Tudor.
The collection includes sweaters, hats, T-shirts and headbands. A total of 80 different items of clothing can be purchased. According to all three founders, it’s especially important that their clothes aren’t too expensive. “Our prices range from 30 to 80 euros per piece,” explains Dennis Tudor, sales manager.
However, entrepreneurs cannot live by their fashion line alone. In addition to their start-ups, all three women rely on other jobs: “Meanwhile, one of us can make a living from our own fashion line, but all three can’t make a living. Although our start-up regularly does some Nothing gives, yet it doesn’t make enough difference to us to make a living from it,” says Kerstin Tudor. In addition to their start-ups and additional jobs, the three founders also have children – a double or triple burden for mothers and managing directors.
Four percent of start-ups set up by women only
Based on surveys by the “Austrian Start Up Monitor” – a scientific study by the think tank “Austrian Startups”, the research institute “Austrian Institute of Technology” and the business incubator of the Vienna University of Economics and Business – only four percent of start-ups in Lower Austria -Ups are run exclusively by established women. On the other hand, 56 percent of start-ups are set up by men and 40 percent by mixed teams. Across Austria, the proportion of start-ups set up exclusively by women is nine percent.
Combining family and work is a major challenge for women even today. It’s also one of the reasons why some women set up start-ups on their own, says Lisa Fasal, herself an entrepreneur and start-up officer at the federal Ministry for Digitization. “The mandated framework conditions are needed so that women find start-ups more attractive, especially with regard to the issue of ‘family and work harmony’. To promote women in start-ups and enable them to set up a start-up themselves. There is also a need for incentives to motivate them. It should be specifically about public funding or bonuses for start-ups that are linked to the fact that women are under-represented in teams,” says Fassl. Huh.
Women often pursue “green and social” goals
According to the “Austrian Startup Monitor,” mixed teams and female-led teams often find start-ups in the education, clothing, consumer goods and food sectors. The male-dominated sectors are industrial technology, production, finance and IT or software development. According to the study, an important aspect that is needed today is that women’s teams or start-ups run by women often disproportionately pursue social and ecological goals.
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