If you're a female entrepreneur, you need to know about 'Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine'

Photo: EOFY Bash: Like Minded Bitches & Boys/ Facebook.

What started out as two Australian female entrepreneurs getting together over wine to talk about the ins-and-outs of their startups is now a global phenomenon which goes by the kick-ass name “Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine” (LMBDW).

“When we both started there wasn’t the networks or communities there are now,” says Gen George, co-founder of LMBDW, as well as founder of Oneshift and Skill’d. “The idea or concept of being a startup wasn’t around. There wasn’t other like-minded people doing the same thing hitting their head against the wall.”

George, along with founder of Showpo, Jane Lu — who was recently in the US attending Forbes’ 30 under 30 — started the group a year ago.

“We speak at a lot of events together,” she says, “so we decided to catch up once a month over a glass of wine and compare notes. It was a great outlet to be able to figure things out.

“I think we had dinner maybe twice and then we were like ‘I’ll bring so-and-so, she’s running a business too’.

“The next dinner there was 30 women there.”

Twelve months on, the group has outgrown Facebook and is gearing up to move onto another platform to manage the membership growth.

“We’ve just cracked 20,200 members. We’re literally about to launch the website … and we’re in seven international cities now: Tel Aviv, London, Dublin, Shanhai, Hong Kong, San Francisco, New York and Sydney,” says George.

Screenshot: Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine/ Facebook.

“It’s a group of just really frank women, who like to get s..t done, so to speak. It’s the start-up group that you can come to when you want to hear the truth about how hard it is but also some cool stories about how people have gotten through it.

“You get as much out of this group as you give. There’s so many amazing people saying ‘Hey, I’ve got this amazing contact, does anyone need help?'”

George says she met a woman at one of the group’s events in Melbourne recently who had taken the plunge to start her own business after being inspired by others on the group.

“Within an hour [of posting on the LBMDW Facebook page] she said she had 600 likes and 60 comments giving her awesome feedback, and offers of contacts,” says George.

“It’s just a cool support network, where you can have a drink of wine and say s..t that was a tough day.”

What’s in a name?

Now the name. It’s bold and unashamedly so, and while George says it started out as a joke for those 30 women, it now gives the group the credit and energy it deserves.

“We were joking around, thinking what are we going to call this thing,” she says. “It was literally intended for those 30 women in the room.

“We said ‘well, let’s just keep doing what we’re doing, what should we name our Facebook group so we can all post and share our thoughts rather than waiting for the next dinner?’ We were just bitches getting s..t done. It was as frank and alcoholic as that.

“There’s been some adversity against the word “bitch”. We see it as a positive: we’re a group of bitches getting stuff done. It’s as simple as that. It’s not meant to be in a derogatory way, it’s a positive way.

“[People have said] we’re degrading ourselves by calling ourselves that but we see it as a strong way to bring women together… and apparently 20,000 other women think so as well.”

The name isn’t the only thing that users have called out.

“We get all sorts of differing opinions about what the group should be for. But we’re very clear about it, we have a message at the top of the page saying what our vision for it is, and these are our values, if you want to be a part of it, fantastic, but if you don’t, we’re not kidnapping you to stay in it,” says George.

Regardless, the growth of the group has been so fast, George and Lu are now looking to make the network bigger and better.

“I think it worked because it’s easy and you’re on Facebook anyway.”

Growing pains

Moving to a website will be a challenge but George says there is a lot a benefits of doing it because with 20,000 members, and 350 women joining a day, it’s becoming too big to simply stay on the social media platform.

“It will be easier to find and will have more value for all the members. It will launched before Christmas.”

Another aspect that is likely going to change with the group is the membership fee.

“Jane and I put all our own money and time into the group,” says George, “moving forward we will ask for a small membership fee. You set these things up to have an impact and be sustainable, so we’re not sure how much yet, but we’ll figure that out.

“It will also have a directory to find girls in other industries or locations so you can say I’m heading over here and you’ll be able to have contacts.

“It will have forum threads so that you can follow different topics. A calendar to know when events are on because there’s currently only one group and all the events; you can’t actually just follow what’s going on in your city.

“It’s not revolutionary, it’s just about organising something that already exists.

“And then just keep launching in more cities. I think the more global we make it the better impact it will have for the women here to think bigger and have access to amazing other women around the world.”

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