People often say "so and so was born to be an entrepreneur". I disagree. I, personally, didn't always aspire to be an entrepreneur, despite the fact that now I can't imagine doing anything else. During my first degree I got a job in the hi-tech industry and that was what I continued to do when I graduated. I worked for years in that field in different roles, working my way up to management level. During that time I was very focused on my career path in the hi-tech industry - I didn't even think about entrepreneurship or whether it was suitable for me.
Then things changed. I realised I wanted to do things in a different way. But even then it wasn't as if I just decided to set up a business and got on with it. Becoming an entrepreneur is a journey and mine took me back into education, this time to study design. Only that move put me in the position to get to where I am now.
While I do believe entrepreneurs can be made, rather than being born to do it, there are some personality traits I think it is vital people who are setting up their own business have. Patience and determination are at the top of my list.
For example, it was a huge leap coming from the hi-tech domain and opening a business in gardening product design. At the planning stage, everyone I contacted because I needed their services or support to get up and running was negative, explaining to me in detail why I would fail. Because it was my first business, no bank was ready to take the risk and loan me the money I needed. Raising funding was for me, like for so many entrepreneurs in every country, the main barrier. In product design and manufacturing especially, the costs to get the first stages in place are very high - but without moulds you can't make any products.
But my patience and determination paid off and thankfully Youth Business International (YBI) was able to support me through its partner in Israel, Keren Shemesh so I could set up Greenbo. From securing funding to selling our first products and then way beyond, I was guided through their mentoring process. Being mentored by people who already understands the difficulties of starting a new business in the same field gives you the kind of assistance at all the critical stages of the start-up process you just can't get anywhere else.
I was also exposed to stories of success and the talents of many young entrepreneurs from around the world through the YBI network - there's so many people and examples out there to learn from. That's why I am so excited to be coming to London this weekend as one of the three finalists in the YBI Entrepreneur of the Year competition which is run by Youth Business International and supported by Barclays. The winner is announced on Tuesday so there are just a few days to go!
When you're working hard day-to-day to make your business a success, there's not often time to take a step back and reflect on what you've achieved. So, when an organisation that cares about what you are doing acknowledges that work to the world, bringing you together with successful young entrepreneurs from across the globe in a great competition, you understand the difference you've made. That's very exciting for me - my patience and determination feel duly rewarded.