Post #1: How I recovered from hitting rock bottom to creating my very own business
Updated: Oct 12, 2020
This is our very first post and nothing more fitting then to share the incredible story of our Founder & Director, Pamela Benitez.
Like many people in the UK when the covid-19 pandemic hit, the event industry was brought to its knees. As an events manager, all of a sudden she had no events to manage and consequently lost her job. Finding a new job in the same field became extremely difficult, so she decided to make a radical, life-changing decision.
After losing my job as Head of Events at prestigious events management agency due to the pandemic crisis, I found it extremely hard to search for a similar role within the industry. The unbelievably high skilled competition versus the limited job offers made me realise that I would need to look for an alternative because getting a job in this field in the near future is a mission impossible.
When the pandemic struck, I decided to register for a course in Planning & Executing Successful Virtual Events by The Media House to get a sense of the virtual events world. Next, I started to attend a variety of virtual networking events. During the Cartier Women's Initiative Ask Me Anything Session, a virtual live event, I got inspired by the Elvis & Kresse story, a certified B Corporation and a certified Social Enterprise co-founded by Kresse Wesling MBE. As a result, I got the feeling that I needed to build something – my own business, so I decided to go for it!
The first difficult choice was the type of business model I would like to set up. Although I was interested in the social enterprise model, I didn’t have much experience. I started to research and found the Social Enterprise UK platform and its team (thank you Jubair & Mila) as well as the Inspire2Enterprise. I discovered that social enterprises are the future due to the fact they allow business owners to commit to a specific purpose with the goal to give back to the community. A social enterprise must give-away or reinvest more than 50% of the profit towards their social purpose.
The love for events combined with the willingness to build something to give back to the community, made the plan to set up a social enterprise specialising in virtual events management seem flawless.
The journey has been long and hard but luckily I had a good work coach provided by the DWP. I was accepted to the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) delivered by Shaw Trust with a mentor who helped me build my business plan and cash flow forecast.
I also felt incredibly fortunate to have a well-known celebrity chef believing in this project from day one, Parveen Ashraf aka The Spice Queen. She is an amazing individual with a truly good heart and mostly an incredible chef! She makes learning to cook delicious Indian food super easy and fun and for that reason my first event experience was created with her. We first met at London Love Ladies Business Group where the founder Sue Crooks, an inspiring woman and the creator of the biggest women in business community in the UK, introduced us. I would not be have been able to connect with Parveen, and develop the company concept without this introduction, for that I am really grateful.
Last but not least, I had the support of my amazing family, and friends, especially Louise Garlick - founder of CAPE, Hugo, Rita, Carmen, Tassia, Tatyana, Ivy, Margarida, Raquel, Maria Luisa, Maria, Kris, Magali, Aurette and Mandy, who helped me keep going and be motivated to create this unique business!
So here I am, after losing my job in April, I thought everything was about to go downhill. Now five months later, I’m launching my very own social enterprise business! In fact, the very first social enterprise in the UK specialised in virtual events management.
I hope my story has inspired you and kept you motivated!
And a special note, if you are an events manager who lost your job and are looking for an alternative income, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or connect by LinkedIn to share your story, skills, what are you looking for and how can I help you.
Whatever situation you are in, believe that you have the strength and capacity to turn it around!