Inspiring words from Ntombizodwa Makuyana (Tombi), Lucy student and winner of the 2021 LucEnt Challenge
When I submitted the Lucy Enterprise application, I had no idea that I would get selected. I thought l would give it a try since the worst that can happen is to lose but also gain connections. In the application, I mentioned my project and how I have been helping girls in Zimbabwe to access resources to help implement their career goals. A day after the deadline, I received an invitation to attend the in-person event, which meant I had to prepare a poster and slides to illustrate my idea. On the day, I was nervous and felt my project was the worst idea to apply for but the mentors and Fellows made me feel welcomed and comfortable. It turned out to be a rewarding experience.
“Alone we can do little, but together we achieve much” a frequent Shona statement from my native language clearly illustrates Lucy Enterprise Weekend. It was an opportunity to learn, relearn and unlearn from interacting with other students, mentors and judges. Ideas were refined and some metamorphosed into reality.
My project (100 Young Women Initiative) was focused on empowering girls with career development skills and a support system. Through a 4 weeks intensive mentoring program, girls are equipped with self-leadership, career research and personal branding skills maximizing their chances of achieving their career aspirations. The girls have the opportunity to network with leaders working at top companies and universities such as Deloitte, KMPG, Stanford, University of Cambridge etc and upon completion of the program, girls become part of a lifelong support network. The project is birthed from witnessing the huge career aspiration gap in Africa that prevents young women from reaching their potential. There is a lack of role models as few women reach the top and resources meaning those from low-income backgrounds are left behind due to limited exposure.
On this project, I received a lot of feedback on how l can move the project to a greater level. Being surrounded by mentors, who offered us unparalleled support by questioning and also offering information on how l can improve the project, taught me the power of togetherness. The entrepreneurial journey is long but with the amazing support I received, I know where to turn to for help - Lucy Cavendish College. The main topic that frequently caught my attention is the power of failure. Failure teaches us what went wrong so for the future we try other infinite ideas and in the entrepreneurial world, it is the start of an amazing journey. An advice l would give to students is: “no idea is stupid and any idea can amount to something so give it a try!”