My last guest for this season of ‘A Date With Ains’ is the lovely Nicole Denholder of Next Chapter.
This well-travelled Aussie and mother of two, made the transition from a senior corporate role to launching Next Chapter, a new crowdfunding platform which has been specifically established for female entrepreneurs.
Over coffee at The Mixing Bowl, Nicole and I discussed how she incorporates clarity, confidence and connection in her life and business as well as her passion for helping women fund their passion-fuelled businesses.
Take a read!
I grew up in Australia and then moved to London after university.
I joined PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in London and travelled extensively in Europe for work.
I met my English/Chinese husband in Switzerland and shortly after we moved to Hong Kong (13 years ago). I was fortunate to be able to transfer from the PwC London to the PwC Hong Kong office and again travelled extensively in my role before having two children.
After having my children I was looking for an opportunity and I had come across crowdfunding platforms which I thought were great.
However as a mum I was also meeting a lot of women wanting to start businesses or validate their ideas with friends and a lightbulb went off on how to bring them together.
So that’s why I am focused on crowdfunding for female entrepreneurs with the longer goal to be a broader funding platform for female entrepreneurs.
To be honest, a good chat with my husband seems to help clear my mind.
He’s great at seeing the forest from the trees.
One of my lowest points was working on an international assignment that meant extra long periods of time away from home and an especially complex working environment.
In hindsight I let the situation overcome me, however it was certainly a huge character development period and the biggest takeaway from that time was learning how to say No and not wanting to be a ‘work pleaser’.
That helped immensely in terms of managing future work projects and many other aspects of my life.
I get to meet amazing female entrepreneurs all the time and those meetings always inspire me.
Also I have been fortunate with the level of support that my startup is receiving.
Those two factors combined really help to keep me connected and motivated.
They worked hard to give myself and my siblings everything they could and I really respect and value that every single day.
I am focused on developing a strong crowdfunding base from which I will be rolling out different initiatives to build a funding platform for female entrepreneurs.
I have been here 13 years, yet I travelled so much for the first 7 years in the Corporate arena, then spent a few years raising young children and now have become connected into the startup space.
This has meant “my Hong Kong” has continually evolved and provided new opportunities for me which I love.
Plus it is halfway between Australia and Europe which is great personally.
Just Do It.
Time passes fast and everything will take longer than you expect so make the leap and have a go.
It may not lead to where you expect but possibly even somewhere more amazing!
Don’t get distracted by the hype of others, and focus on execution and business vision.
I’ll be kicking off my next season of ‘A Date With Ains’ in 2017 when I’m back from maternity leave.
If you’re a kick-ass female entrpereneur, solopreneur or small business owner in Hong Kong and you’d like to be featured as a part of the interview series, feel free to contact me! I’d love to hear from you.
Nicole Denholder is the founder and CEO of Next Chapter.
Next Chapter launched in late 2015, and is a funding portal especially for female entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses in Asia, to improve their access to funding. It’s first service is a rewards-based crowdfunding platform that supports entrepreneurs wanting to raise funds, create market buzz and validate their business ideas. See www.nextchapter.com.hk
Nicole previously worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in London and Hong Kong in PwC’s US IPO and Advisory practices working on large scale projects across Europe and Asia.
Nicole is passionate about female entrepreneurship, and changing the way the funding system works so that the world benefits more from the talent and wisdom of women.