Celebrating International Women's Day 2021
International Women’s Day (IWD) takes place on 8 March 2021. This annual event is marked globally, to celebrate and recognise the imporant achievements of women worldwide, whilst raising awareness of women’s equality and rights.
International Women’s Day history dates back to 1909, and remains as topical to this day. For IWD21, we took the opportunity to interview Munchy Play founder, Sophia Procter, about what it means to her as a female founder.
Q: Sophia, tell us a bit about your background and career.
I’m a mum, entrepreneur and founder of Munchy Play – the first kids’ plate with a built-in track. I haven’t always been spinning plates, prior to launching my business in 2020, I held senior PR roles at companies such as BA and Red Bull.
Q: What inspired you to launch your own business?
I never thought I would run my own business, although I've always had an entrepreneurial streak inherited from my Dad. When I stumbled across the idea for a kids’ plate with a built-in track for toy cars and trains, I couldn’t resist the opportunity. As serendipity would have it, at the same time I was facing redundancy, so it all fell into place in a very unplanned and unexpected way.
Q: What does International Women’s Day mean to you
IWD is such an important day to shine the spotlight on the many women who are doing outstanding work in the community, as well as supporting those on the way up, and those fighting for vital change.
Q: What female leaders do you look up to?
I’m in awe of all women that are strong, fierce, and not afraid to speak the truth. I also love women who champion others, for instance, Emma Jones OBE at Enterprise Nation, has been a great cheerleader. I met her through the brilliant Amazon Accelerator Programme with Enterprise Nation. She constantly uses her platform to raise the profile of small businesses - she's the true definition of an ally.
Q: What qualities do you need to be a female founder?
Here’s the thing, you don’t need massive budgets, academic degrees, or even experience in business – although that all helps. You simply need resilience, determination, and an unquenchable (some might say obsessional) desire to bring your idea to life.
Q: How can we encourage more women into manufacturing, design and STEM based businesses?
It starts from a young age. This is why it’s so important not to gender-stereotype children into specific jobs or roles, allowing them to be free to explore without limitations. It's something I’m very passionate about and always correct people if they ask if our kids’ plates are for ‘girls or boys’, telling them, ‘they are simply for children’.
We must also make the STEM industry more inclusive for the next generation, and celebrate the great female talent within it. Last year I was presented with an Honorary Award from the Global Women in Innovation Network. It really was such an honour to be recognised amongst so many outstanding women. Great strides are being made in the industry.
Q: Finally, what is your advice to aspiring female founders?
If you believe in your product and yourself - then absolutely nothing will stand in your way. I’m proof of that.
Sophia is the founder of Munchy Play, the first kids' plate with a built-in track.