2inspire Network blog is one of the mediums the Network uses to empower and inspire individuals. It is used to share knowledge and messages that will make a positive impact in people's lives and is also used as a platform to promote the products, services and events of the Network and external organisations.
Friday 4 October 2013
2Inspire Profile: Lina Gadi, Founder and CEO at Start Young Global
As a young business woman Lina Gadi struggled to find networking and business information geared towards young entrepreneurs. As a result, she has now set up Start young Global, which provides a platform for young people to network, grow and develop their brands.
Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
I start work at 8.30am every morning, check my e-mails. Then I spend the morning updating and developing content on the site with my Sr Content Developer Mumsie Uwakhoye and development manager Aaron Wallace, followed by searching for business events that are coming up, dealing with queries and requests from our members. We get a lot of those. We also spend a lot of time working on our events, as soon as one is finished we are already working on our next one. We find that our members find our events extremely informative and always ask us to host them more often
What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I started my first business worth mentioning aged 21 and found it a real struggle to find information and networking events for business owners my age. I also felt that information was too scattered on the internet so after attending a networking event earlier this year I came up with the idea of creating one central starting point for all young entrepreneurs where they can access valuable information and resources as well as connect with others worldwide. Within one week we created and launched our first website which grew rapidly in membership and popularity.
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Organizing our first event and managing to get high quality speakers involved. Through my ability to network and build relationships I have been fortunate enough to meet amazing people who were extremely enthusiastic about wanting to support and help me with my business.
The event was not only a hit with those who attended it but also with those who came to speak. We are now working on our next event on November 2nd which is a trade show for young entrepreneurs only, this one will probably give us quite a challenge to bring together but I am extremely excited.
What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Marketing on a tight budget has been my biggest challenge. Marketing is a costly activity if you want to create a big impact but it’s not impossible to get the same results on a tight budget if you’re creative. By using social media smartly and creatively I have managed to keep marketing costs low whilst still making a substantial impact.
I have learned that with the right connections and a little creativity, it’s a little easier to stretch your budget. Connecting with the right people and establishing partnerships that are equally beneficial to both parties has had a major impact on our marketing efforts.
What are your future plans for the business?
We have very ambitious expansion plans for the business, many of which involve us penetrating international markets. Our immediate plans include launching workshops, a young entrepreneur’s only trade show which is due to take place in November and an award show to celebrate our one year milestone.
Due to growing demand we are also looking into hosting events abroad so we are currently working on the logistics of that and connecting with companies abroad.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would have started earlier. I spent a lot of wasted time on self-doubt and hesitation. I wish I had taken the plunge earlier. I am realising now that nothing in business will ever go 100% according to plan, for the most part it’s all trial and error.
Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
Because many dream to do so but don’t realize how possible it is to make that dream a reality, I was one of those youngsters who didn't think it was possible. My entire business model is built around the desire to inform young people about the endless possibilities starting a business of their own can provide and how achievable those goals are. Jobs are created by business owners; we need young people to start businesses so that more jobs become available for the current and next generation.
I think as young women we look at the business world as a male dominated environment and this can sometimes cause us to feel like we don’t belong there which impacts on our desire to chase that dream. Young women are just as competent and capable of running successful businesses as their male counterparts and I think it’s important that message is sent across to them.
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Be passionate about wanting to provide a helping hand to people. My business is very much a service based business and you have to be passionate to be able to deliver those services to the highest quality. Also, be willing to admit when you’re wrong about something, many believe that admitting to a fault shows weakness when in fact it shows willingness and desire to improve which inspires a sense of trust from your clients.
What or who inspires you in business and why?
I am inspired by many different business people for different reasons but the people who tend to inspire me most of all are those who built their companies from the very ground up as I feel I can relate to their journey more. People like Kanya King who is my biggest role model and Hilary Devey who took on a male dominated world and won. These ladies don’t just inspire me in business, they inspire me in life
What is your favourite inspirational quote?
A quote by Henry Ford, “whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right”