If you haven’t read the first post in this two-part blog series, we suggest you start there. In that one, we covered how Meet Jack got started, how the company is coping with the coronavirus pandemic, and why jackfruit is a plant-based star.
In this part, we’re focusing on female entrepreneurship, advice for fellow founders, and why people thought Marjolein and Kaline were crazy for launching a startup with no previous experience in the food industry. Let’s dive back into the interview…
Meet Jack on female entrepreneurship
In terms of gender diversity, the food industry is improving, albeit slowly. In 2020, it remains the case that the majority of companies are founded by men and that an extremely small amount of VC funding (1-2%) is invested in businesses led by women. We were interested to get Meet Jack’s take on female entrepreneurship.
Kaline: The industry that we work in is male orientated. Production companies, catering companies, packaging companies, chefs – nearly everyone we meet is male. We are an exception in the industry and this has led to advantages for us. People are curious about what we do and how we are doing it, and I think we can stand up very well in comparison to other startups.
Personally, I haven’t experienced many closed doors – I’ve seen more doors opening. We are very passionate about what we do and I think that draws people in. We are excited about our products and that energy can be infectious.
“Let’s make sure that in 10 years, at least half of the people in this space are female. Let’s change the industry together.”
Marjolein: Kaline and I are both very partnership-driven. We are not from the food industry, except for some time spent waitressing in our university days, and that meant that we needed to speak to as many people as possible. The feedback that we mostly got in our first year was that we were rookies and didn’t know anything, rather than the focus being on us being female entrepreneurs. They just thought we were crazy to start a food business with no background in this area at all!
That said, the industry does continue to be male-dominated and everyone seems to know one another. I can understand how that could be intimidating. However, I would say to other female entrepreneurs, just go in there, and don’t be scared. Let’s make sure that in 10 years, at least half of the people in this space are female. Let’s change the industry together.
Meet Jack on advice
Marjolein and Kaline may have been food industry rookies when they started Meet Jack. However, after speaking with them during the webinar, it’s clear that they’ve learned a lot and are really carving out a meaningful nook for themselves in the food space. We asked them what advice they’d give to other entrepreneurs.