Mom’s the word as new entrepreneurial group focuses on mothers in business
By: Stacy Wescoe March 13, 2020 8:56 am
Original Article Here
Murtaza and Sukaina Jaffer started Mompreneurs of Lehigh Valley Business Group at EBC, their family’s business services office in Trexlertown.
The fact that the idea to form a group to support mom entrepreneurs came from a man is not lost on Murtaza Jaffer, who runs Express Business Center and EBC Printing in Trexlertown with his brother Mustafa.
But he said when he met the right group of women at the right time, he knew that bringing these “mompreneurs” together was something he wanted to do.
Providing business services for many small businesses and entrepreneurs in the Lehigh Valley, Jaffer got to know a number of young mothers who had eschewed the corporate world and started their own small businesses so they could spend more time with their families.
While many had strong business backgrounds, many were running their own business for the first time and he saw their struggles. “Having started a small business myself, I found myself often giving them brotherly advice,” Jaffer said.
After talking to a few of his mom and entrepreneur clients, as well as his own wife, Sukaina, he thought he could help even more if he gave these women a place to meet, share ideas and network.
And that was how Mompreneurs of Lehigh Valley Business Group got started.
On the third Thursday of each month, the group meets at the new EBC offices at 6034 Hamilton Street in Trexlertown. A guest speaker is brought in for each meeting and every woman has a chance to speak before the group or during networking.
Amanda Ruth, one of the original members and founders of the group, said the mompreneurs group Jaffer proposed filled a perfect niche for her. She had quit her job at the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and started her own marketing firm, Ruthless Media and Marketing, so she could have more time with her two young children. She now works just a few hours a day and a few hours a week, as needed, to fulfill her clients’ needs and those of her sons’.
“I have always been in business, but I never owned my own business,” Ruth said. “It helps me get an outside view and a little of their knowledge.”
And meeting once a month for an hour and a half is the right balance of getting the help and information they need while not adding another big time burden to their already busy schedules.
She said they find a lot of camaraderie within the group. Each woman gets her turn to speak, whether she wants to talk about successes or areas where she needs help or about business or family issues.
“A lot of people’s stories are the same. ‘I just couldn’t do the corporate lifestyle anymore,’” she said.
Aside from that, Ruth said, there is a diverse group of women in the crowd.
She noted that there are marketing women, such as herself, bookkeepers, notaries, graphic designers and even some women that work at selling products like Arbonne skin care.
She said many of the mothers with older children have more established and full-time endeavors, while some of the newer mothers are just getting started. Each has their own experience that they can bring to the group to help others deal with their own issues. Ruth said they have become each other’s friends and clients.
“We always say our group is for support, not selling, but I do like buying local and buying from other moms,” she said.
Helping each other
And so, in addition to being each other’s support group, the roughly 70 women who now make up the mompreneurs group, also provide services to each other.
“Lauren Phillips, for example, is now my bookkeeper. I don’t have that much business, but math isn’t my strength, so I have her help,” Ruth said.
Sukaina Jaffer, who has been a core member of the group since the start, said she’s impressed with how quickly the group took off and how it continues to grow, as well as how much the mothers in the group say it means to them.
“It’s about how supported they feel. The fact that they felt so isolated and now they have the group to fall back on,” she said.
She noted their only marketing has been a group on Facebook and that the group has grown from 10 women to almost 70 in just a few months because of word of mouth and women who discover the group introducing it to other mompreneurs that they know.
And as the group grows and thrives, Murtaza Jaffer said he’s proud of the role he played in getting it off the ground. He said by helping mothers build their businesses he feels he’s paying tribute to his own mother.