A big break with The Big Start03 July 2012
By Tamira Hamam
AT EVERY turn, we see that young people have become the driving force for change and revolution, from the Arab Spring and loan schemes for young entrepreneurs initiated in the UK last month to new sensations making their fame and fortunes from blogs and YouTube. Just look at the uber-cute Lennon and Maisy (a mere 12 and seven-years-old respectively) who became smashes seemingly overnight when one of their YouTube covers went viral.
What we’re seeing is a shift in mentality, from keeping your head down and working hard to shooting for the stars and dreaming big. If the word for generation X was ‘perseverance’ the word for generation Y would be ‘limitlessness’.
We are a generation which refuses to conform to the ‘norm’ and will not follow the beaten path or the road less travelled – our eyes are on the stars and how to reach them!
A lavish victory
This year’s The Big Start competition concluded in style a week ago with a ceremony to introduce Aditi Sen as the winner. She will see her business come to fruition with the backing of Al Tamimi Investments (ATI). Aditi, whose business proposed developing and providing animal-assisted therapy for those with psychological trauma or the medically ill, managed to beat off stiff competition from Maher Jabri from Middlesex University and Nur Amer from the American University of Sharjah.
Unlike many other cash prizes or endorsements, The Big Start fully funds its winner’s business proposal, making the winner the CEO of their own company whilst mentoring and coaching him or her through the difficulties of a start-up. Graduating with just a degree is so 2008.
Just one look at last year’s winner, 25-year-old Stefanie Ost, will tell you everything you need to know about how important schemes and competitions like this one truly are. The model and graduate of Middlesex University won her title with her business plan to launch a modelling agency to provide training to young models in the region.
Attributing her idea to her own experiences, Stafanie says that her time at modelling school in Germany fundamentally shaped her career in a positive way. She recognises good coaching and guidance to be essential in the foundations of any model’s career, so her brainchild of SO Famous was born. One year on, and a well-designed aspirational website offering specific courses and career management services for models is the sleek face of SO Famous.
A school is still in the works, and Stefanie continues to work closely with ATI towards the future of her business. Inspirational? Hell yes! Attainable? With a lot of hard work, dedication and unfailing self-belief, of course!
The secret to success
Stefanie isn’t shy about what it took to get her win – in fact, she’s got a secret: “If you have a dream, you must picture how you are achieving that dream and if you do so, you can really make it happen.”
And Stefanie pictured, alright – she pictured her win, receiving her award and even what it would be like to actually be the CEO of her own business. Did we mention that this girl had just graduated?
And now, stepping into the spotlight, Aditi takes her place amongst the former alumni of young people with big ideas and the passion and conviction to see them through.
Huge congratulations to all involved, we can’t wait to see what ATI has in store for us next year, and to see Aditi’s wonderful business plan turn into what will hopefully be a successful and long-running business. Mabrouk!
Pic credit: The Big Start