Madeleine Shaw, Founder and Chief Community Officer of Nestworks

For this week’s edition of FinanciElle “Statements”, I had the opportunity to interview Madeleine Shaw, Social Entrepreneur.

Madeleine is the Founder and Chief Community Officer of Nestworks.

Nestworks is a family-friendly shared workplace concept under development in Vancouver.

A group of local entrepreneurs and parents asked themselves: where are the opportunities to foster local small business growth and build community among creative entrepreneurs and like minded professionals in a family-friendly context?

How might an integrated approach to small business development support not only growth, but also family needs and overall efficiency, creativity, sustainability, innovation and mental health? Learn more and join our growing community at Nestworks.

In addition to Nestworks, Madeleine is also Co-Founder of Lunapads International Products Ltd. Lunapads International is a women-owned social mission driven business based in Vancouver, Canada. Their goal is to help people have more positive and informed experiences of their period, and by extension, their bodies overall. Lunapads is a global brand leader in sustainable personal hygiene that is acclaimed for its innovation, fearlessness and commitment to social justice.

Madeleine is also the Founder and Creator of G Day for Girls.

G Day is a program operated by United Girls of the World (UGW), a registered charity based in Vancouver BC. UGW’s purpose is to advance education by developing and providing workshops, seminars and other educational tools for girls and their families on issues affecting the well-being of girls.

Paolina: What has been your hardest experience dealing with your business and finance and what did you learn?

Madeleine:

So many things it’s hard to know where to start! It’s not exactly about money, but I would start off by saying that I wish that I knew that basically everything that happens in business costs twice as much and takes twice as long as you think it will. I also wish that I had been more financially literate before going into business. I have never been good at math, and was given very little financial training at school or by my parents. I learned that you can’t function without it: there really is no way around it, no matter how gifted you may be creatively.

Paolina: What advice do you wish you had gotten about finance when you were first starting your business?

Madeleine:

People have shared smart things with me all along: raise money before you need it, ask for advice if you are looking for money, and for money if you are looking for advice, and so on.

Some things that I would like to see more openness around include things like how to think about control of your company when you are raising money, as well as asking for help. Everyone is so worried about loss of control, and yet they need capital to grow their businesses. Would you rather have a smaller share (less control) and be more financially successful, or control more but realize less gain?

“Grow the pie” is one of my favourite expressions in this regard.

Paolina: What topics would you want to learn more about when it comes to finance and your business and why?

Madeleine:

I am interested in learning more about understanding different business models and margin strategies, especially for smaller businesses.

There seems to be a prevalent belief that bigger is better when it comes to business, even if you are not profitable, which I don’t really understand. I would like to see small business success more celebrated.

I enjoy the stories behind the brands and products: how leaders make decisions, and how to embed social impact alongside financial success.

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