In the current social and economic climate, with issues such as mental health and poverty hitting the headlines as prevalent issues, young people are going to require these attitudes - in particular resilience - more than ever over the coming years. It's our responsibility to make sure the support is available to bring these out and empower young people to lead their own positive lives.
Confidence is crucial for entrepreneurial success, and having a mentor who can offer encouragement along the way can make a huge difference. But mentoring also helps women develop hard skills that are vital to business growth. Knowing how to write a robust business plan, balance a budget or implement a marketing strategy are competencies that are often out of reach for women living in developing communities... Ultimately, the real success stories are the women entrepreneurs themselves. Onty says that working with Cherie enabled her business to break even for the first time. Business growth aside, she's also determined to use her success to help other young women in her community - proof that empowering women generates lasting impacts.
If you are lucky you will get plenty of advice as you forge ahead with your career...and of course there is always the internet to turn to now for comment and thought. But as I think about some of the things people have taught me over the years I often wish that I had learned them earlier - I wish someone had sat me down and just shared a few key pointers right at the beginning.
According to the Small Business Federation, businesses that seek support are 70% more likely to survive beyond the first 5 years. It's not rocket science - like everything in life, you're more likely to succeed with input from those who've done it before. Entire business sectors have grown based on that premise...
One of the most important lessons I have learnt from my years in business is that nothing is possible without hard work. Women today are often juggling family, children and work and this is one of the challenges we face daily. However, as a mother of four children, I know the importance of having a support system, but also being able to be self-reliant.
Globally, women are under represented at the top in politics world-wide by 85%and over represented at the bottom; we make up 70% of the worlds impoverished. But when you aren't actively part of either of those demographics and reside in a world as 'progressive' as the creative industry, you can be lead to think that inequality is something that happens to 'other women'.
When I started out in business I was very lucky to work with someone who listened to me, shared their knowledge and skills, and basically helped my working experience become an enjoyable one. In short, this colleague was my mentor. A mentor can be anyone who helps you grow by sharing their knowledge with you, offering advice, and being genuinely concerned about you and your success.
Two years ago, when I decided to leave my job as VP of Sales for a public company, many people told me "don't do it/that's the end of your career/such a risky move" because I didn't have another job lined up. They saw what I was doing as the end of my world, whilst for me it was the beginning of a new one.
There are so many obvious answers to this question: they started a business, they want to make money, they live in developing markets, and of course they want to be successful. But what do we really mean by "to be successful"? Making a lot of money? Be famous? Own a huge house and be on holiday forever? Sometimes that's it, but not always... and not everywhere....
On the Skills Problem, let it be said quite flatly: the economy has changed but university curricula haven't. What I'm trying to say is that many universities don't actually teach your skills that make its students into a good fit with the job market. So you know what that often means? Yep, joblessness...