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Blog: Innovation Squad

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Innovation Squad is a free seven-month peer support programme delivered by the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Gain insight into what it’s like to be part of Innovation Squad from participant Georgina Shearsby-Roberts, a BA/LLB conjoint student.

Does anyone else sign up to things and then endure the inner monologue of doubt leading up to the first meeting? What if they don’t like me? What if we’re all too “different”? What if I don’t have enough to offer?

This year I decided to be proactive. Be a go-getter. Work on my fears and take every opportunity that came my way. Which is how I ended up clicking the submit button on the Innovation Squad application, after trying to balance talking myself up with not sounding too cocky. I’d been a little too intimidated to immerse myself in the Velocity programme for the past two years, but the new women’s only programme seemed like a good entry into the world of entrepreneurship and business.

And, as it turns out, the thoughts running through my head leading up to our introduction were all completely irrational.

The fear didn’t just come from the thought of meeting new people or being put outside my comfort zone. It also came from the thought of actually admitting that “business” was something that was available to me. It sounds silly, but the word business is usually followed by “man” – a silver-haired CEO in a suit.

But maybe it’s not so silly. Despite making up half of the population, women still make up under a third of business owners, and the numbers get smaller the higher up the business food chain. Which is exactly why this programme was set up – to help foster women and girls into believing they too can have an entrepreneurial mindset.

Chatting to the other women at our intro night reassured me I was not alone. We all had things we cared about. Despite our passions ranging from better healthcare to more effective urban development to reducing mental health stigma, we unsurprisingly shared similar reasons for these ideas being stored back in the dusty part of our brains. Business was too intimidating, so many things could go wrong, where to even begin, who do we go to for advice, and, admitting to wanting to change something opens ourselves up to being vulnerable, or worse – failure.

Despite being deliberately selected because of our different characters, experience and study areas, coming together on that night felt like the start of new friendships. It was exciting and inspiring. Everyone had an individual story and now we get to be on this journey together.

So far we’ve heard from the totally awe-inspiring and certified girl boss Annette Presley; the risk-taking lawyer turned entrepreneur Sophie Gilmour; and had our first mentor sessions with some amazing women who’ve paved their way across different careers and were generous enough to share some of the things they’ve learnt along the way.

One thing each woman shared with us was: “I wish something like this had existed when I was at university.”

Boy am I glad I didn’t let fear talk me out of this one.

 

Blog: Innovation Squad
Blog: Innovation Squad

social media

Innovation Squad is a free seven-month peer support programme delivered by the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Gain insight into what it’s like to be part of Innovation Squad from participant Georgina Shearsby-Roberts, a BA/LLB conjoint student.

Does anyone else sign up to things and then endure the inner monologue of doubt leading up to the first meeting? What if they don’t like me? What if we’re all too “different”? What if I don’t have enough to offer?

This year I decided to be proactive. Be a go-getter. Work on my fears and take every opportunity that came my way. Which is how I ended up clicking the submit button on the Innovation Squad application, after trying to balance talking myself up with not sounding too cocky. I’d been a little too intimidated to immerse myself in the Velocity programme for the past two years, but the new women’s only programme seemed like a good entry into the world of entrepreneurship and business.

And, as it turns out, the thoughts running through my head leading up to our introduction were all completely irrational.

The fear didn’t just come from the thought of meeting new people or being put outside my comfort zone. It also came from the thought of actually admitting that “business” was something that was available to me. It sounds silly, but the word business is usually followed by “man” – a silver-haired CEO in a suit.

But maybe it’s not so silly. Despite making up half of the population, women still make up under a third of business owners, and the numbers get smaller the higher up the business food chain. Which is exactly why this programme was set up – to help foster women and girls into believing they too can have an entrepreneurial mindset.

Chatting to the other women at our intro night reassured me I was not alone. We all had things we cared about. Despite our passions ranging from better healthcare to more effective urban development to reducing mental health stigma, we unsurprisingly shared similar reasons for these ideas being stored back in the dusty part of our brains. Business was too intimidating, so many things could go wrong, where to even begin, who do we go to for advice, and, admitting to wanting to change something opens ourselves up to being vulnerable, or worse – failure.

Despite being deliberately selected because of our different characters, experience and study areas, coming together on that night felt like the start of new friendships. It was exciting and inspiring. Everyone had an individual story and now we get to be on this journey together.

So far we’ve heard from the totally awe-inspiring and certified girl boss Annette Presley; the risk-taking lawyer turned entrepreneur Sophie Gilmour; and had our first mentor sessions with some amazing women who’ve paved their way across different careers and were generous enough to share some of the things they’ve learnt along the way.

One thing each woman shared with us was: “I wish something like this had existed when I was at university.”

Boy am I glad I didn’t let fear talk me out of this one.

 


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