SheSupp – a Swedish initiative to promote female entrepreneurship
We are pleased to present you the story of another AIESEC Alumni, Jean Gombya from Sweden. We would like to thank Jean for sharing with us her story and most recent project.
AAE: Hi Jean, tell us a bit about yourself.
Jean: My name is Jean and I am your everyday 27 year old girl with a passion for helping other young women to achieve their goals. My background is in business, accounting and finance and I have throughout my career helped several companies with finance and accounting. My aim is now to use this knowledge and experience to equip young women for success in their businesses. I am a woman of faith and spend most of my free time with friends, family and in church. I love to travel and dance, well travel to warm countries (above 25 Celsius degrees that is!) J
AAE: What motivates you?
Jean: I think that my motivation partly comes from my desire to make a difference in the world as cliché as it may sound. My faith teaches me to give and help others and I also find joy in doing that which motivates me to keep going with SheSupp even through the hard times. Secondly I am a person who needs my freedom, I love to travel, I love to spend time with friends and family and would love to have the freedom to do that as and when I desire. So I guess the freedom for more quality time with friends and family is a motivator.
AAE: How and when did SheSupp start? Or I should I ask what inspired you to start SheSupp? How did you spot the market need for such an organization?
Jean: I have had the SheSupp idea in mind for quite some time. A few seeds were sown after having worked as a client manager towards small to medium sized companies for a large financial services company. By doing so I had the chance to speak to business owners and really hear their passion about their business and also the pros and cons about it. From there I developed an interest in using my knowledge to help them. I have always had a passion for empowering and encouraging young women to pursue their potential which has then led me to focus on that group. But it was only after a failed business attempt and when I realized that I really wanted the freedom to run my own business and do what I am passionate about that I really got the ball rolling in 2016. During that time I also realized how lonely it was to be a business owner and found that there were other women that felt the same. So it all started with a Facebook group that grew to about 400+ members and in late 2016 I decided to do a complete rebranding and changed to doing events and workshops to help the women in a more practical way.
AAE: What does the company do? What do you want to achieve with it?
Jean: SheSupp is a business network with a dream of inspiring and encouraging young women to start and grow their own businesses. We hope to create a strong global network of young female entrepreneurs to facilitate their growth and impact in the world.
The young women of SheSupp are able to find other female business partners globally and locally to make it easier for them to start and run their own businesses and grow domestically as well as internationally. SheSupp believes that if She can Support Her, there is a greater chance of all of us succeeding together, thus using the power of sharing to teach and learn from each other.
AAE: Tell us about the team you are working with.
Jean: I am currently a solopreneur. I did in fact have a fantastic girl working with me and who handled all the marketing and digital stuff, but due to her having to relocate I am back to being on my own. I have come to find that it is a good place for me to be in as I am still figuring out the success factors for SheSupp. By being a solopreneur I am able to make my own decisions and quickly without consulting anyone or involving my team, this way I can also adapt to chances and be more flexible with who I choose to collaborate with etc. In the future as SheSupp grows I do hope to hire a full team. However right now I am in fact looking for a tech-savvy person to help build an app!
AAE: What projects have you been involved with so far?
Jean: In my entire career I have been a part of several different projects from helping to set up a subsidiary in Sweden for a financial services company to volunteering in Uganda with AIESEC to help develop the organisation in Uganda. By working on these projects I found myself incredibly excited about entrepreneurship and also passionate about young women’s development. This in turn led to the start of SheSupp, so I am now building my dream with SheSupp and which in itself is just a big long-term project with several micro projects, it couldn’t be more fun!
AAE: What’s the most important thing you’re working on right now and how are you making it happen?
Jean: Right now in life my focus is on building SheSupp and trying to build a business that will help thousands of young women to start to pursue their dreams and dare to start their own businesses. I am working on a super exciting program that I am hoping to offer women in Sweden to be a part of, in order to help them start and/or build their businesses for success. It is a tough journey but incredibly fun. I am working around the clock, networking and ensuring that my name and SheSupp is visible to my target group and companies with the same vision or willing to invest in young women.
AAE: What are the plans for the future (yours and/or the company’s)?
Jean: My vision for the future is to grow SheSupp internationally. My hope is that SheSupp will be able to contribute to minimizing the gender gap amongst business leaders in the business world by facilitating for more women to have the courage and the opportunity to build their own business and if these businesses go well it will result in more women being in leading positions in leading companies. Kind of like a domino effect.
AAE: How can people interested get involved?
Jean: Well I should say to stay updated with what is happening on Facebook and Instagram as we have monthly events and will shortly be launching digital content to help our members’ progress with their businesses. So be it you are in Sweden or not you can still become a SheSupp member just go to the website www.shesupp.com and sign up and you will get newsletters and exclusive content.
Secondly if your company or you know of a company that would like to get involved in this kind of initiative feel free to send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you know there is an interest for such an initiative in your country / town please do contact us as I am looking to expand and looking to suitable cities.
AAE: How can the Alumni community help?
Jean: I would love if the alumni network could connect me with powerful AIESEC alumni that could speak at events or hold workshops or even just become members or sponsors. I am currently looking for partners, and people/companies to collaborate with. So any recommendations are welcome. And of course spreading the word about SheSupp and the work we are doing for young women!
If you have any questions regarding this project, or any other AIESEC Alumni projects, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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