Mumtrepreneurs in Hong Kong: Looking after Children and Pursuing Dreams are No Longer Incompatible

Three mums have applied their business mind into own career

By Richelia Yeung

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Mums brought children with them to hold the weekend market organised by Hong Kong Powerful Mom. (Photo credits to Hong Kong Powerful Mom)

Mumtrepreneurs is a new word for mums with business mind. They have put into action their plan on owning a business, and hence start their own career.

In Hong Kong, many mumtrepreneurs opt for online shops, a popular trend in shopping. They do not need a large amount of money to fund the startup and working hours is flexible.

Married women are an important part of the workforce. According to the “Hong Kong Women in Figures 2015” of the Women’s Commission, the labour force participation rate of now married women aged 30 to 49 has increased to over 60 per cent in the last decade.

Supporting organisations, such as Hong Kong Powerful Mom, act as a platform for business-mothers to gather and share their ideas. They have provided a network for mums to support each other through different ways: like giving workshops or organising markets.

“We want to create a platform for mumtrepreneurs to come together and support each other,” said Ms Terrie Fung. Along with Ms Benny Yu and Ms Macy Lin, the three mothers had founded the organisation in August this year.

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Benny Yu, Terry Fung and Macy Lin (from left to right in the photo) want to bring positivity to mums through Hong Kong Powerful Mom.

Fung owns a company of international forwarding service; Lin is an online baby boutique shop owner and Yu is a kid’s event planner. She also teaches art workshops online for children.

The trio held their first event in September, which was a Mid-Autumn-Festival-themed weekend market at “The Wave” in Kwun Tong with the participation of over twenty mothers. There was a large variety of business types involved – including oversea purchasing agent services, DIY products like soap and embroidery products, and handicraft workshops.

“The response was surprisingly overwhelming,” they said. “We have the idea in mind since last year but it wasn’t until this September that we have the right time, the right place and the right social connections for the event to succeed.”

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Mums who work had set up their own booth during the event. (Photo credits to Hong Kong Powerful Mom)

“It is important for family members to be supportive of your decision (of becoming a mumtrepreneur),” said Yu. She said that she once had people around her asking her to give up her business and become a stay-at-home mum who focuses on taking care of her children.

“It’s not an alternative,” said Yu. “We believe determined mothers can both look after their children and pursue their dreams.”

“It is a deep-rooted stereotype that fathers should be the one to go to work and mothers should stay at home,” said Dr Jenny Chan Wai-ling, assistant professor of Department of Applied Social Sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

“The empowerment of women is not strong,” she said. Even when women are getting better job opportunities, their responsibilities at home still remain. “The responsibility (of taking care of the family) should be shouldered by both parents.”

Not every family – one of eight households – can afford to hire a domestic helper. Chan urged the government to invest more on nurseries and elderly home to ease the burden of working mums and to spread the idea how parenting is a shared responsibility. She also said it is good that three days of paternity leave has been guaranteed since 2015.

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The responsibility of taking care of the family is shouldered by both parents. (Photo credits to Hong Kong Powerful Mom)

Chan believed that employers do not see male and female employees are of equal values. They opt for male employees because it is less of a concern – women literally need more holidays like maternity leave, which to an employer is a lost.

“Employers have to equalise the values of man and woman to fit each sphere,” she said.

The assistant professor also suggested that there should be more transparent criteria for recruitment of labour. To mums, this could encourage them to work after giving birth, or even own their business for one step further.

“It is more important for the employers to look into the knowledge and values of the employees to a company, and being a married woman is not a crucial criteria,” said Chan.
(Edited by Janet Sun)

Published on The Young Reporter Magazine, November 2016 (Vol.49 Issue 2)

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