My name is Zoe Garshong, I am a 22-year-old Economic graduate from the University of Essex. I now work as the student union president of Essex University, here my job is to represent Essex Students nationally, locally, making sure their voices are at at the centre in every discussion in addition to ensuring that the Student Union and University make the best decisions for students.
As part of my role, I work on projects that help students have the best experience at the university, for example closing the attainment gap, empowering minorities, improving support for student entrepreneurs, eradicating xenophobia from the local communities and raising awareness of mental health issues and solutions.
In December 2016, I started my own business called Ms Independent. Ms independent is a social enterprise that aims to close the gender wage gap around the world, by equipping females aged 15-25 with the tools needed to become CEO’s, entrepreneurs, senior leaders in companies and to have the confidence to enter male-dominated industries.
Nearly 50% of the gender wage gap is caused be a lack for female entrepreneurs, lack of female CEO’s, a lack of females in senior roles in companies and a lack of women in STEM industries.
We run workshops and conferences in schools, colleges, universities and community centres, to raise awareness of these issues, in doing so we invite all women to take part. Finally, we have a series on YouTube called “I am Ms Independent” which Showcasing the success story of females entrepreneurs, CEO’s, senior leaders and women in STEM.
A good friend of mine that runs another social enterprise recommended this exchange programme to me. As soon as I saw the call out, about this programme, I had a positive feeling that I would meet like-minded people, as well as gain the opportunity to learn and grow as individual and as an entrepreneur. I was excited and intrigued to learn about a new culture and to also use my skill to make an impact.
Whilst on this exchange trip I am hoping to learn about a new part of Spain that I might not have considered coming too. I am hoping to gain confidence to step out of my comfort zone as an entrepreneur. Get connections for my business learn from other young entrepreneurs and to make a really big impact in the city.
So far, it has been better than I ever expected, in terms working with young and very creative entrepreneurs. I never thought I would click with people so quickly. I have a learnt a lot from just talking to the people on the trip. I see so much potential already from the city, everything is so beautiful.
So far, I’ve learnt that the Spanish are so friendly here, so free and relaxed and their community it like a family they look out for each other.