Mumpreneurs? This is what Staples had to say…

You probably noticed that earlier in the week a got a le-e-e-tle bit riled up about the use of the word Mumpreneur. It looked a bit like this…


Well, it was triggered by a few companies who all happened to land in my inbox in the space of half an hour – and Staples was one of them, for running a ‘Mumpreneur of the Year 2012’ competition in conjunction with Netmums. It’s actually a totally fantastic competition, with a brilliant prize package that any small business owner would be thrilled to win. But WHY are they using the ‘M’ word to describe it?

Netmums have been curiously conspicuous by their absence in the debate, but fair play to Staples they not only responded to defend themselves online, but they have mailed me a full response, which they’re happy for me to share with you…

We wanted to get in touch following your blog about the term ‘mumpreneur’ and the interesting discussion it has ignited. We can see that there are mixed views about the term.

We chose it because it already has some currency and also because our award is run exclusively in partnership with Netmums.
As Siobhan Freegard at Netmums says,”We were happy to agree with the term for the campaign as we believe the term is primarily understood to be women who, after having children, have set up small scale family friendly businesses usually selling family-related products with hours to fit around children. They are usually mums dipping their toe into the world of business on their own for the first time. Many mumpreneurs cross over into being full scale businesses, others don’t as they want to keep it manageable – and either way is fine.”

For us, ‘mumpreneur’ simply unites the theme of our competition – entrepreneurship – with the audience – mums.  The use of the term carries no judgement and we are not making a statement.

We can see why some people may not like the term, but we want to assure we have the best of intentions; to inspire women with children who have entrepreneurial aspirations, to pursue and fulfil these.

Our award scheme with Netmums has been designed to elevate and empower women in business, whether established or looking to start up; to show our commitment to this, we have included mentoring sessions with Amee Chande, MD of Staples UK and Direct, and a business grant in the prize.

We understand and acknowledge the concerns made in your blog and hope the above clarifies our position, in conjunction with Netmums, on the use of the word ‘mumpreneurs’ for this award.


So – what do you think? The aims are genuine and worthy… but is there EVER a time or place that it’s okay to clarify a business by the gender of it’s owner?

I have a sneaky feeling that Amee Chande would be pretty furious if she was always described as “The female MD of StaplesUK”. What the arses has her gender got to do with her job title?



Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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  1. Dear All who joined the Mumpreneurs My Arse debate; did you see that @StaplesUK (with a bit of @Netmums ) have replied?

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  2. I loathe the word mumpreneur. It’s aggravating, of course, to be defined by gender or motherhood (stand up all you dadpreneurs! Whassat? No-one? How odd), but equally annoying to me is that it isn’t even clever wordplay, just the lazy hashing together of two words in an ugly fashion.

    Having said that, I understand why people for use the word as sadly it has become well-known, and, you know, “yay” to everyone (men and women!) who has the gumption to set up a business and take advantage of all the possible marketing avenues out there.

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