Since opening our Campus Tel Aviv last December, we’ve hosted thousands of promising entrepreneurs and developers at events, workshops, lectures and hackathons. Many of these entrepreneurs refer to their start-ups as their “baby,” and it’s easy to understand why. Like having a newborn, a start-up is super-exciting, yet the days are hectic and the nights are… sleepless.
What’s really inspiring (and just a little bit crazy) is that some people do both at the same time. Take, for example, Israeli entrepreneur Hilla Brenner, who raised $ 5 million for her first start-up when she was nine months pregnant. Earlier this year, I had the chance to meet Hilla and we began talking about how juggling work and kids doesn’t leave much time to invest in learning and developing new skills. We also discussed how maternity leave can be one of the few times when women can stop and think about their career. We asked ourselves: what could we do to help women with young children get access to self-development and career support and, in doing so, to help more women become tech entrepreneurs?
Campus for Moms is a baby-friendly start-up school for new moms, run by Google in partnership with Yazamiyot, a networking group for Israeli women entrepreneurs. The first course, which ended this week, included nine sessions led by successful entrepreneurs, investors, technology experts and others. The sessions covered personal success stories, finance, legal and presentation skills, and tech knowledge, like cloud computing. We arranged mattresses, bean bags and diaper-changing facilities so that the moms could take care of their young ones during the sessions. Four babies were born during the course and one new mum returned to the program less than a week after giving birth!
At the end of the course, participants presented their initiatives to venture capital funds and the course speakers. Their ideas are exciting—including a platform for teachers to create apps for their students, a fashion-tech meet up to encourage cooperation between local fashion-related start-ups, a 2G mobile ecommerce gateway for emerging markets and a bunch of other great initiatives.
The participants are continuing to develop their skills: two of the start-ups have joined the Campus Tel Aviv “Launch Pad” program, an intensive week-long bootcamp for entrepreneurs, and another will be visiting Campus London to meet with U.K.-based entrepreneurs.
The first course of “Campus for Moms” is over, but we’re gearing up for another course in October. We’re also looking forward to sharing the tools and best practices we’ve developed at Campus for Moms with others, so they can help entrepreneurial moms in their communities. After all, whether they’re moms or not, entrepreneurs can always do with a helping hand with their “baby.”