Turbine is glad to introduce Aysha Julie who recently joined Turbine as a Start-up coach. Aysha is coaching Jason Delorie and Eva Graham, founders of ConnectMe, and Jade Li, founder of Katapult. We are excited to see the pathway that Aysha make with these two startuppers to help them build successful and sustainable businesses.
Aysha shares her story with us!
I’m Aysha Julie, I’m a business coach at Turbine. I am also an entrepreneur who has set up and ran businesses in the UK.
Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey and your experience with entrepreneurs and start-ups so far.
My entrepreneurial journey started as a child when I would play shops and markets with my sisters and friends, selling them stuff that they didn’t need and may have been theirs to start with! At college and university, I made extra money by running events and doing beauty workshops. I always knew I wanted to work for myself and I did not like the idea of working for someone else for little money and little reward.
My first jobs were for small PR agencies run by the founder with a small team, I saw how to set up and run a PR and how much money could be made with the right clients. At the age of 22 I set up my own PR and celebrity booking agency with ‘friend/colleague’, we secured a number of good clients and rented a small shoebox of an office on Harley Street in London and although we worked together well to start with our visions for the business were very different as were the amount of hours we thought we should put in. I was working very long days but my partner would turn up whenever she felt like it and this led to a breakdown in our communication, she then decided she deserved more shares than me because she bought in a new client. It was at this point I said ‘ this isn’t working for me, just buy me out’ and she did. It was enough to buy me a few plane tickets and some time to travel.
I then took a job with the NHS (National Health Service in the UK) working with young people to design and create a health service for them – human-centered designed. We created a great product that was hailed as a national example of good practice and innovation – I spoke at conferences and provided consultancy about the scaling of the project to other areas. I then left the job and started to do consultancy bringing my expertise to the public sector and NGOs to help them to develop services and campaigns based on the needs of their users, be more effective and talk to their audiences better. In 2007 I had my first child while being a self-employed consultant, this was one of the toughest things about being an entrepreneur but also one of the most rewarding. I went back to work when my daughter was only 3 months old but it was for only one day a week so it gave me the flexibility to still work and do what I loved but also the opportunity to spend time with my baby. For baby number 2 I went back to the NHS for some job security and 1 year paid maternity leave, being employed by one of the world’s biggest employers provided me with great experiences, learning, and connections. In 2012 I decided I wanted to spend more time with my children and do something I really cared about, I sat down with my husband who was also dissatisfied with his job so we decided to set up a social enterprise that provided health and wellbeing services for young people who were overlooked by mainstream services. We created a number of projects and programmes that we co-designed with young people, we started by running a few small projects to prove the concept. These were successful and impactful and we were commissioned to develop them further by several local authorities and NHS trusts. The company is still running today we have worked with over 4500 young people to positively impact their lives.
For me being an entrepreneur provides me with freedom; the freedom to chose the hours I work, freedom to spend time with children, to chose the clients I work with and the type of work I do. However being an entrepreneur often means being all things – HR, accountant, sales manager etc, it can also mean working weekends and evenings but for me, the rewards outweigh anything negative and I’d never change it.
How can you help Turbine’s and other start-ups/entrepreneurs?
I am an experienced coach, I’m also an entrepreneur with a wide range of experience covering a variety of sectors. I love supporting entrepreneurs to explore their business ideas and how they can develop them. As an entrepreneur, I’ve had highs and lows and lots of challenges that I’ve overcome so I am well positioned to support other entrepreneurs. I’ve had successes and failures and learned a lot throughout my journey.
Together with Turbine, what do you envision to bring for the start-up world/ecosystem?
Turbine is innovating and incubating some very exciting start-ups so I am delighted to join Turbine on this journey to support entrepreneurs to bring their businesses to life. Turbine is a great place for start-ups, there is so much expertise within the team to support entrepreneurs develop and test their ideas, so if you are an aspiring entrepreneur come and speak to us. Although Mauritius is a small island, there is so much potential to help entrepreneurs to develop an innovative and scalable business that will have a positive impact on the economy here, but also pan-Africa and globally. Turbine is the catalyst that will help the entrepreneurs to bring these ideas and business to fruition.
Failure is only a failure if you fail to pick yourself up and learn from why you failed.