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Tech City: Silicon Lunchabout event breaks down barriers for mums with babies

PUBLISHED: 10:01 01 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:45 01 April 2016

(left to right) Joy-Fleur Brettschneider (Head of Marketing Thoughtworks) , June Angelides (Founder Mums in Technology), Simona Barbieri (Founder Hub Dot)

(left to right) Joy-Fleur Brettschneider (Head of Marketing Thoughtworks) , June Angelides (Founder Mums in Technology), Simona Barbieri (Founder Hub Dot)

Arjun Shah

Tech City is the third largest technology hub in the world, and it’s right on our doorstep. Each week, we bring you news from the thriving area around Old Street roundabout. This week Victoria Ibitoye chats to June Angelides and Simona Barbieri, the women behind Silicon Lunchabout.

Silicon lunchabout event   credit: Arjun ShahSilicon lunchabout event credit: Arjun Shah

Tech is becoming more accessible than ever. Coding is even taught in primary schools and children are encouraged to consider it as a career option.

But there’s little on offer for parents looking to dip their foot in technology bubble. According to June Angelides, that’s where Silicon Lunchabout comes in.

June first came up with the idea for the child-friendly tech networking event while on maternity leave.

After realising she could no longer make the “Silicon Drinkabout” events held in the evening she decided something should be done. June, 31, told Tech City: “I had been out of work for so long and used to walk in on a few Drinkabout events.

WomenInTech-7WomenInTech-7

“I had been thinking about it for a while and just thought: ‘Why can’t I just reach out [to the organisers of Drinkabout] and create something for parents so that mums and dads can mingle?

“I knew it would be a bit like [my coding school] Mums in Technology but I wanted it to be inclusive so I reached out to the Drinkabout staff. They let us use their logo and gave us tips about how best to make it work.”

June and Simona Barbieri, who launched the event together, used ideas from their respective tech companies to make it unique.

June, a mother of two, is the founder of Mums in Technology – a child friendly coding school where mums (and dads) on maternity leave sign-up to a course and take their babies along.

Simona is the founder of Hub Dot which seeks to change the way women network by removing labels and job descriptions. Instead, women are given one of five coloured dots with different meanings as a way of starting conversations.

“I was keen for it to be different so I reached out to Simona who let me use the Hub Dot formula, which made a lot more sense for mums with babies,” said June.

“We wanted to make the event as comfortable for mums with children as possible and when walking into the room the first thing that caught my eye was the high energy, the smiles and of course, the buggies. It was a much needed change from traditionally stuffy networking events.

“For me the most important thing is that I didn’t want people to have to choose [between their children and careers]. Lunchabout is great for mums and babies and is about bringing people together who are unique to each other.”

The first meet-up was held at The Proud Archivist in Haggerston, but June reckons they’ll branch out to other areas soon.

“We learnt so much about each other’s businesses,” added June.

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