Apart but Not Alone

Apart but Not Alone

Written by Libby Briggs, SBE E3 co-ordinator

Well what a strange year it has been, and like so many of you, here at SBE Australia we have been grappling with a new world of online meetings, programming and Zoom dates. 

In late February, with two successful face-to-face E3 programs under our belt, we were looking to the year ahead - enter COVID. These past few months have been ones of adaptation, of failure but also of success as we brought our E3 program online and in the meantime learnt that although we are not physically together we do not need to be distant. 

One of our biggest concerns jumping into online programming was collaboration and a sense of cohesion. Learning from like-minded females and sharing your journey is one of the biggest draw cards of our programs. We want to support females to grow their businesses, but how do you do this in an online-only space? Well, we don’t pretend to be the experts but here is what we have learnt over the past few months.


  1. Create a breakout space

Sharing your journey with others is such an important part of the learning process. Make space to break out, to chat about the weekend, ask your peers questions and just generally shoot the breeze. In any program (online or otherwise) the key is not the content, but rather the support network. We have all heard of students who learn ‘better from only one teacher’. Often this has less to do with content delivery and everything to do with the personal connection. Activities and meetings should be deigned to increase social rapport.


  1. Make real time connections 

Although sometimes it may not feel like it (especially for us in VIC) we will get back to some semblance of normality, it may look different to the way before, but who knows, maybe that will be an improvement. Try to make connections during the program that will last, that you can follow up, find a person you can lean on to support you in the next stage of your adventure


  1. Be a sounding board

Everyone learns differently, don’t be afraid to reach out to your facilitator/manager to ask questions/seek clarity. My week is made up of extra pitch practices and speaking to founders, but that is what I love; getting into the nitty gritty of the problem, solution or how to create a clear vision statement like no other.


  1. Find the silver linings

We have now run three successful online E3 cohorts full of incredible women. These women jumped online from all around Australia, with diverse experiences and backgrounds. Some of them could not have done an 8 week face-to-face program, due to geographical circumstance or family commitment and thus we have been able to open up to many founders who may have found face-to-face a barrier.

Another massive plus! We have opened up our week 8 final pitch to channel partners and guests throughout Australia, giving our E3 cohorts access to connections, capital and advisors like never before. 


All in all we may never go back. Watch this space. Wait.. Am I on mute?