Empowering Women Entrepreneurs with Ova Huguette
#BreaktheBias is the theme for International Women’s Day 2022 (IWD 2022). Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. However, knowing that bias exists isn’t enough. Action is needed to level the playing field.
In celebration of IWD 2022, we have interviewed 4 of our Neat women entrepreneurs coming from different industries to talk about the bias that they have faced during their startup journey and how they have overcome the challenges.
Our third interviewee is Ova Huguette, co-founder and CMO of GEARXPro.
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m an Asian passionate, spending years studying the Chinese language and culture. I was in China 3 times, the first two as a student and then I spent 12 years living in China and doing trading business and providing global supply chain solutions to overseas companies who want to trade with China and Asian countries.
I am now the CMO of a young company called GEARXPro Sports, which I co-founded with two other Italian gentlemen, to innovate and commercialise sports accessories for athletes and people passionate about sports.
Our vision is to research, develop, design, and create new products to improve the athletes’ playing experience. Our products are designed with professional expertise, under the watchful eye of apparel and sports professionals.
2. What inspired you to start your own business and why in this industry in particular?
It all started with a roundtable discussion. One of my business partners was a professional soccer player and I’m into sports as well. We wanted to offer the best products for other sports lovers – but it’s not that simple, we don’t want to be just another sports apparel brand. You need to understand what your audience needs, what the unique aspect of your product is. We then fine-tune our business direction to be a solution provider that offers products that make a difference for professional athletes.
On top of that, I’d also say that it is the power of living in China – there are no limits, you get to have new business ideas, inspiration pop up every day.
3. What is the most exciting aspect of running your own business?
For me, I’m always excited to meet new people, learn about new things, new knowledge, and get out of my comfort zone. There is no way you can excel in everything, but as long as you are open-minded enough to learn, you will get new opportunities and be brought to the next level.
Furthermore, we were lucky to have Italian national soccer teams and top players who noticed our products and further introduce us to new partners. Today GEARXPro and SOXPro are distributed in more than 20 countries in the world. We are one of the two top grip socks brands in the world used by players in major football and rugby international competitions. What’s more fulfilling than knowing your users find your products helpful and valuable?
We have also sponsored a soccer team named LEWES Equality FC, in England, which is the only soccer club in the world that offer fair and equal salaries to its men and woman professional players. This usually does not happen in the football industry.
4. We don’t see as many female entrepreneurs – why do you think this is?
In my opinion, the media needs to step up in their role in breaking the bias. It definitely got better now than in the old days, thanks to the internet and social media. But the media can do better on gender representation when reporting – women need to work extra hard, be extra exceptional to be noticed and reported, unlike our male counterparts.
However, I’d say women also need to play their part too. When you are in the team, you should be more proactive and fearless. Set up your goals, be persistent daily, and don’t wait for people to make the first move, you can be the leader and reach out to others first to make sure others know what your role is.
5. What advice would you give to other girls out there who are about to start their own business?
First of all, follow your instinct. When you make up your mind to start your business, you need to trust yourself. There will be times when you will challenge yourself, would this work? what if it doesn’t? But as long as you are passionate about what you do, go for it and ignore all noises. Remember, things might not necessarily go as you thought they would, but eventually it will happen.
I love to think that every day is an opportunity that you give to yourself to make your dreams a reality.
Check out our other interviews:
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Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide (FEW) provides a platform for women and to learn and network as well as companies to market their business events and expertise to an engaged community of 20,000+ influential women members throughout Asia. FEW Consulting offers business consultations to women-led businesses and MNCs that care about inclusion diversity and sustainability. Our clients include small-medium to large companies from real estate, mobility technology, and lifestyle sectors. Learn more.