By Tamara Pupic
E7 is a mentorship platform to equip young women aged 18 to 25 with the necessary skills to unlock their potential and positively impact their communities
Aida Al Busaidy, our latest Entrepreneur of the Week, is a co-founder of the E7 Daughters of the Emirates project, a leadership programme developed by Promise of a Generation (POAG), a UAE-based community forum.
E7 is a mentorship platform to equip young women aged 18 to 25 with the necessary skills to unlock their potential and positively impact their communities.
It kicked off in April last year when a group of young women from each of the UAE’s seven Emirates gathered in Dubai for the first annual Emirates NBD E7 Banat al Emarat- Daughters of the Emirates summit.
“E7 stems out of POAG which established itself as an open majlis for all,” says Al Busaidy. “In its second year, the format of E7 changed to have multiple mentors coaching multiple girls. It has seen a huge growth in young women who are being encouraged to take on more challenges, grow, change perspectives, and create something on their own.”
Following a year-long training, carefully matched teams of young women pitch their project ideas before a panel of judges, with the winners being provided with guidance and support to make a positive impact on the community.
“What we did discover is that there is a lack of mentorship in the region. The youth today need a support system that helps to boost their confidence,” adds Al Busaidy. “We also realise that the youth today look more into social media to build their ideas or even promote them, and to create a holistic approach for a business proposition, in which every element from strategy and budgeting to marketing and resourcing plays an equally important role.”
The E7 initiative recently graduated its 2016 class where nine winning community projects received seed funding from Emirates NBD.
Speaking about the entrepreneurial bug spreading across the UAE, Al Busaidy says: “Being an entrepreneur is not a win-win situation all the time. In order to win you need to falter a few times as well. Some of the well-known entrepreneurs started with nothing, working off a few loans out of a garage and at low cost to reach the first consumer.
“Today, most people who consider becoming an entrepreneur already have a big support system, with family, money, education, a job, so they see success in all that.
“However, when it comes to starting a business, you do not see an immediate success, and that is the beauty of it. It is in constant learning because the market is always changing, consumers are finding new ways to purchase items. Do not let these things bother you.
“And finally, find a unique selling proposition. It might not seem successful today, but it will tomorrow.”
Al Busaidy wears many other hats. With more than a decade of experience in communications, including becoming a sought-after master of ceremonies, she has built a successful career as a senior manager of stakeholder communications at the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM).
Furthermore, Al Busaidy has joined Sail magazine, an English publication written solely by Emiratis, as developmental editor aiming to help young writers cultivate their unique writing voice.
When asked how she juggles her role as a mother of two boys with a wide range of her professional pursuits, she is decisive that “there is no such thing as work - life balance.”
“The key is to divide the week into the key things that need to be delivered that week. At work, it is more structured while at home it is slightly more relaxed.
“Working should be something that fulfils you as a person, grows you as an individual, helps you as a member of the community, and enhances you to contribute to something bigger than yourself.
“However, you need to be you first. Don’t worry about prioritising your schedule if your mind, body and soul have not been prioritised and do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Sometimes giving away tasks actually empowers you to be better.”
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