AN AWARD-WINNING entrepreneur is looking to help others ‘Be Bold For Change’ this International Women’s Day (8 March 2017) by offering free mentoring to women wanting to start a new businesses. Julie Chen, the Director of The Cheeky Panda explains.
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender equality and the theme this year is ‘Be Bold For Change’, which I would certainly encourage.
Although I now live in Shenfield in Essex, I was born in a small town in China, and moved to a city for university. I then went on to study in Japan and later at the University of Glasgow for my Masters, so I understand what it is like to make bold but successful choices at a young age. It also means I am now fluent in four languages.
Having embraced change in order to get a good education, I went on to make a success of a number of businesses I have worked for, most of which had an international feel including import and export to the Far East. For me all these successes working for other people have all culminated in me thinking up and running the award-winning The Cheeky Panda.
The Cheeky Panda, winner of Essex’s Big Business Boost Award 2016, makes 3-ply bamboo toilet paper. This means rather than using traditional toilet paper or recycled toilet tissues (which use de-inking chemicals that can cause potential health hazards), people in the UK can now purchase toilet paper which is made from 100% virgin bamboo pulp that is 100% tree free.
As well as gaining the support of the public and an angel investor, The Cheeky Panda has been nominated for six awards in 2016 including the National Business Award, and also won the support of the LoCASE programme. LoCASE (Low Carbon across the South East) is an EU-funded project set up to help businesses tackle and adapt to climate change.
But in order to get the business to where it is today I have had to utilise and build on a variety of skills including branding, crowdfunding, social media management and search engine optimisation (SEO). I now feel with all the skills I have, it is a good time to give something back to other women by offering my support as a mentor for International Women’s Day. So I am offering free mentoring to two women who are looking to start new businesses in 2017. One of the women should be based in Essex while the other can be anywhere in the UK.
I am passionate about sustainable business, so I would be particularly keen to hear from anyone who wants help starting a green business. I would also be interested to hear from anyone with an international background like me, although I am delighted to consider all applications and will pick the two I think best meet all the skills I have so I can support them to my best ability.
Any women interested in having me as their mentor are asked to go to our website, enter their name and contact details and explain in 200 words or less what the business is they would like to start, or have recently started in 2017.
To apply visit https://www.thecheekypanda.co.uk/be-bold-for-change/