Interview with Marie Swarbreck of FLEXImums
How did FLEXImums come about and tell us about the founder
I started my career in the communications, sales and events sector working across Asia, Middle East, Europe and Canada. After my daughter Arabelle was born in Hong Kong during 2014, I found myself in need of flexible yet challenging work and little to no options to choose from.
In between juggling a few jobs and raising Arabelle, I realised many parents in Hong Kong are talented professionals who would jump at the opportunity to work a flexible yet fulfilling job and a better work-life balance.
This was the beginning of a new adventure, the birth of FLEXImums.
FLEXImums connects employers who offer flexibility, whether it’s full-time work with flexi-hours, work-from-home or part-time work, job-share or any other form of flexibility with parents looking for flexible positions.
Why is FLEXImums important in HK/worldwide?
Diversity is extremely important for businesses, small and big. Lots of research has been done that has proven gender-balanced companies outperform their peers.
Not only does this mean that startups, and SMEs, can benefit from flexible work arrangements, but also by having more women and mothers onboard they have a wider understanding of the client-base.
Professional mothers are an untapped pool of talent not only in HK, Asia but worldwide; they often leave the workforce to have children. When returning to work, lots of mothers start looking for flexible work, meaning a job that allows them to have a healthy work-life balance for their family. In HK, companies offering flexibility and/or part-time opportunities are rare.
FLEXImums is bridging that gap by providing the platform that empowers & connects professional mothers with businesses who understand and offer healthy work-life balance and flexibility.
How are you going about building the community + job opportunities?
FLEXImums is new to Hong Kong and has been well-received by both professional mothers as well as businesses.
We have been working closely with start-ups offering special packages to support their growth as well as SMEs and large corporations.
The service we offer is customised to each client. We work closely with them in order to understand what they need and who they are looking for.
When working with larger corporations, we focus more on gender-balance and women in leadership.
The community is growing daily… we are always looking for collaboration and event opportunities as well as setting up our own events. We are currently working on a big event for later this year (2016) that will focus on Diversity and Inclusion. Our mission is to create an attitude change and get more mothers back into the workforce.
Whilst building a community for the mums, we encourage mothers to register on our website www.fleximums.com and our Facebook page. This way we can contact them when we have an opportunity that suits their expertise and interests. Additionally, we have job-listings on the website; this allows mothers to apply when they see jobs that interest them.
Through social media, collaborations and word-of-mouth we have become the preferred agency for mothers who are looking for flexible job opportunities.
How does FLEXImums support Mumpreneurs*?
*a mumpreneur is a mother who starts a business so that she can combine working with looking after her children
As a community we also want to support the businesses set up by mothers in Hong Kong. In order to help support those businesses, FLEXImums has a page on the website, for mumpreneurs, where we list the businesses with logo and web-link.
We encourage all mumprenuers to reach out to get listed to create a strong community and organise events to grow the businesses and create more awareness.
What do you think of Hong Kong's startup scene?
The startup community in HK is great. When saying “great”, I mean, it is one of the largest globally and also very successful in different industries. Daily, I get contacted by startups in fintech, e-commerce, retail, finance, real estate, marketing, accounting and many more…
This shows how Hong Kong is a great place to set up and grow a business.
When setting up FLEXImums, I read lots of success stories and got advice from good mentors. One piece of advice that stuck with me is that you can’t do everything yourself.
Quite often entrepreneurs try to do it all – understandably - as a startup you want to keep the costs down but it might hurt your business more than you think. Focus on what your business is about and hire someone to support you and complement you.
This is where FLEXImums has been supporting startups through finding the right candidates for different roles such as admin, marketing, accounting, business development, etc. on a flexible basis. It can be 2 to 3 days a week, project based or full time with flexible hours. We offer interim contract as well as permanent. Quite often startups like to opt for the interim contracts as that means that they don't need to look after MPF, and Tax.
We work with each client as a partner and provide tailored services.
For more information about FLEXImums, visit fleximums.com