My lovely social media manager asked me to write a short blog about how I felt graduating as a Big Venture Challenge 2014 Winner.
As a social entrepreneur, you are always TOTALLY occupied and time for reflection is rare. However, this last week really took me by surprise. For the last year, Talentino! has been part of a cohort of 30 social enterprises focused on helping their beneficiaries achieve better educational/employment outcomes. Big Venture Challenge (BVC) has provided many opportunities for us money could never buy and we have developed as people and as a business securing investment in our organisation and what we want to achieve.
I'm not someone who is a natural networker and the thought of mixing with 500 people saying 'Hi I'm Jenny’ and delivering a one line pitch still makes me go cold. However as a mark of respect for the opportunity that had been accorded to me by BVC, I duly trotted off last Wednesday to join the shenanigans. The feeling of being way beyond privileged started when, as part of a Q and A panel I was being asked by eager, anxious 2015 newbies my views about what I had got out of the programme, what would I do differently, etc, etc.
Hearing their questions and witnessing their hopes and dreams, I realised how privileged I had been to have had the opportunity they were about to enjoy too. It took me right back to the first day which was frantic, stressful and the best way to acquire a headache and lose your voice on the same day. I had no idea of the journey I was about to travel on that first day, of the extensive support we would get, of the kindness, the humour, the respect and affirmation.
Entrepreneurism is by its nature a solitary and lonely place and the opportunity BVC gave us was phenomenal. Listening to the speeches at Glaziers Hall, I realised I had been TOTALLY privileged and could never any taken any of it for granted. To be a part of a social movement making social history that gathers momentum daily is not a right, it is earned.
To all the 2014 BVC winners, thank you for letting me be a part of your world, it was humbling and uplifting. To my Venture Manager, possibly the best, I wish you all you wish yourself. Thank you to the 2015 winners for giving me the opportunity to see what I have gained and my advice to you is take every tiny little microbe of everything you can from this amazing programme and next year - like me - you will be almost unable to see the distance you have travelled.