As part of our Women in Micro Business series, we caught up with Michaela Pontiki, CEO of Mediterranean-inspired bakery Arapina, to hear about her journey so far and what it’s like as a female founder in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Who are you and what is your business?
I am the founder and CEO of Arapina bakeries, an award-winning healthy lifestyle bakery with roots in re-invented Mediterranean cooking, catering for a sophisticated clientele offering free from and low in options.
What challenges can women expect to face in business?
Discrimination from a very male-orientated industry, especially the product offering industry, such as those in the hospitality sector.
Do you think there are enough women running their own businesses?
No, but the numbers are increasing.
What do you think are the advantages of having more women in business?
Research has shown that 500 of the most successful businesses in the world have 2/3 of their leading positions occupied by women. I think the employment of high achieving women offers a multileveled dimension of compassion, understanding paired with very focused and clear targeting of the companies goals.
Have you ever had any discriminative experiences because of being female?
Yes, a lot by male entrepreneurs in my field or in complementary fields to the one I am in.
How do you handle knockbacks?
They are there to make you stronger!
What advice do you have for other women wanting to start their own business?
To read one of my recent blog posts on the Arapina website about what you need to be mindful when you start your own business.
What can the business community do to help more women entrepreneurs?
To actively promote and put the spotlight on female entrepreneurs, offer platforms to speak to more women entrepreneurs who have a story to tell and are confident in sharing it.
How do you hope your business will grow?
With a lot more retail outlets and a few big wholesalers ordering from us!
Who are your business heroes?
They change from times to times but essentially anyone who made it, remaining humble and reaching out to help others.
What are you reading at the moment?
Wanderwoman by Marcia Reynolds.
Which one song is always on your playlist?
I giorni, by Ludovico Einaudi.
Where was your last holiday?
In Crete, Greece where I grew up.
When are you happiest?
By the Mediterranean sea.
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