Melissa is the Programme Executive for Bridge 2 Business covering Ayrshire College. The programme promotes enterprise and aims to give students the opportunity to develop enterprise skills and to encourage them to start their own business by giving them the necessary tools. Today Melissa is sharing with us how she “fell” into enterprise, how women have inspired her along the way and how with the help of Bridge 2 Business you can turn those little business ideas in your head into reality.
Eighteen months ago, I sent a text to my friend Christina. That simple text started a series of events that practically changed the course of my life – to be more specific, my career!
One night, as I was perusing my university website, I came across a funding opportunity for projects and couldn’t look away. I couldn’t just close that tab and move over to Netflix. I looked at the announcement for a while and sent a text to my friend telling her about the funding and asking if she would be interested in doing a project together. At that time I did not know what it would be.
Christina and I met up for a coffee, started brainstorming, shaped our abstract ideas into a concrete project and LEVEL-UP! A two-day skills development conference, was born. (This is a very simplified version of the events, believe me there was a lot more planning, hesitations and “why should we do this?” involved.)
LEVEL-UP! 2016 Organising Committee
The conference was a success and last month – one year after the first edition of our conference, a second edition was completed and we sent the papers off to register our company. Oh – and we both got jobs with Bridge 2 Business thanks to the skills we gained by undertaking the project. Which leads me to my next point:
I am an entrepreneur
A fancy word of French origin (at least I think it’s French) that for a long time I could not relate to at all. Mainly because that word seemed so foreign to me and its “sibling” term “businessman” made me think of older men in suits ready to board into the business class of BA flights, so they could get to their next big meeting. However, the reality is very different. What helped me realise this, was seeing the different shapes and forms an entrepreneur can take. They can be any gender, and of all ages. I would never in a million years have seen myself as someone who would own a business with other people or ever think I would be someone that could potentially be her own boss. (There is still a long way to go until I will be my own boss full-time but at least for some time during the week, I am).
Something that really stuck with me along the way, were the amazing women I have met since starting this adventure. I am not only saying this because it is International Women’s Day and we are supposed to be focusing on the work of women. I have been inspired by so many women and not only by their achievements but by the way they lead their own path, the way they present their ideas, the way they are approachable, friendly and awesome. They helped me think that I could indeed take on any quest and define myself as an entrepreneur.
Anyway. So what? Why would this matter to you?
Well, the first message of Bridge 2 Business is to inspire. Hopefully, with this blog post, you are able to see a different aspect of what it is to be an entrepreneur or to have an entrepreneurial mindset. It doesn’t need to be something big or exceptional, it is mainly about believing in your ideas and putting them into action. Taking those little risks in life that we know will make the big difference. It can also be as simple as a text (and follow-up work – lots of it!).
Action is key. Even if you have no idea where to start or how to do it, taking that one step forward will bring you closer to the goal. So don’t just brush off your ideas or think they are silly. Don’t let hesitations or insecurities prevent you from expressing your ideas.
If you want to read about awesome entrepreneurs around Scotland, have a look at the Bridge 2 Business website.
Bridge 2 Business is now officially running in Ayrshire College. If you have an idea for a business or want to take on a project, but have no clue how to get started, this is where we can help. We all have to start somewhere and seeking the right support and connections is the first step!