Tasha Choi, a tech founder who is currently developing an AI-enabled platform for virtual career fairs, planted roots in a coworking office in London, last year, and like most other office sharing spaces, she found it predominantly male.
For Choi, this aspect proved to be more than challenging, since one of the key things early-stage founders look for in a shared space is the ability to network and collaborate with other entrepreneurs in residence.
“All these male coworkers don’t look at you as a coworker or a co-founder,” she says. “‘Let’s grab a coffee’ never means, ‘Let’s actually grab a coffee and actually talk about work.’ It means something else.”
Then Choi discovered Blooms Business Club, the city’s first female-focused coworking space. It’s situated on the edge of Shoreditch, London’s startup district, but its key ideas are the same as those that prompted the creation of similar spaces in New York (The Wing) and Seattle (The Riveter).
As the wider zeitgeist has highlighted in recent years, the larger business world is still mostly dominated by men—and by entrenched, even if unintentional, mindsets about women. As a result, it’s not always hospitable to female founders. Collaboration with other women, then, becomes critical for many women’s success.
For Choi, the support from Blooms colleagues is proving invaluable. “They’re trying to listen and connect you with someone they know, not because they want something in return,” she says.
The Blooms outpost consists of a large, brightly lit space full of long tables and comfy armchairs. Lu Li, a former McKinsey & Company consultant, and Proctor & Gamble brand manager opened it last year as an outgrowth of Blooming Founders, a social network for women founders.
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