Social entrepreneurship is not an easy route to setting up a business, but Daniella Genas shows that with the right support and determination, you can be an entrepreneur with social objectives. At only 29 years old, Daniella has already received many awards so what advice does she have for budding entrepreneurs?
As Director of the events management company Aspire4U, Daniella specialises in running awards, networking and launch events. Using a social enterprise model, Daniella ploughs the profits back into the company to provide training for disadvantaged young people. The training includes event management for the creative industries. Achieving this has not been easy but as Daniella has found it incredibly rewarding.
[quote]Never give up and stay focused. It is easy to get side-tracked but the only way to success is by remaining focused on your goal.[/quote]
Despite all the ups and downs Daniella was determined to achieve her goals. To remain focused, Daniella suggests working on a detailed plan but to also build a support network of individuals who will always have your best interest at heart. When you are finding it difficult, they will help to hold you up.
In the early stages, Daniella didn’t find much help for starting her business. By winning a bursary to go on a do a post graduate course in Media Enterprise at Birmingham City University, Daniella was able to develop her business idea. She says that ‘doing the MA was the most beneficial thing I did in terms of giving me a focus and expanding my business knowledge. In particular, the mentorship I received from the MA.’
Although she found it difficult to get good advice, Daniella also admits that she probably didn’t do enough research or networking to expand her professional networks and meet others in a similar situation. Instead she hit the ground running and then a few years later had to slow down and do all of the things she should have done in the first place.
There were a lot of things I found challenging in the early years, particularly financing and sales. I also started a business with friends which turned our relationship sour. It was difficult trying to draw a line between friendship time and business time. Switching off was also a huge challenge I used to have. I literally couldn’t stop thinking about the business. I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it. I have managed to get that under control now.
Getting the balance right between personal life and work is very difficult at the early stages of a business but in time, Daniella has got better at this by restricting the hours she works at home. “I ensure that I schedule in a day when I do not do any business work every week. This enables me to relax and come back to the business refreshed with new ideas. When we have big events coming up it is impossible to stick to this so during those busy times I pretty much work none stop. But during the quieter times I try hard to stick to it.”
So what does the future hold for Daniella and her business?
“I plan to continue working hard to try and grow the business with the ambition of one day being an international organisation. This year specifically we are seeking investment to grow the business. Hopefully that will lead to taking on new staff and doing a lot more commercial work. I am also in the process of writing my first book which I hope to complete by the middle of this year.”
Another busy year ahead for Daniella, the entrepreneur whose core motivation is making a difference to the lives of the young people in her community and beyond.