The following post was written by Eng. Oluremi Hamid, Founder of Hyrden Energy Ltd. and alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Growth Fellowship implemented by The University of Leeds and Meridian International Center. The Fellowship provides women entrepreneurs from around the world with business and management education, mentoring and networking, and access to capital. The creation of 10,000 Women was informed by research showing that investing in education for women could close a range of gender gaps.
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Growth Fellowship was the icing on the delicious cake that I call the 10,000 Women Course. I came across this opportunity by chance on Coursera sometime in 2018. At the time, I was planning to transition from my full-time job to launching my own renewable energy startup, so the timing felt right. My solar company, Hydren Energy Ltd., provides 24-hour electrical supply to homes and small businesses and began operations in January 2019 through the lessons I learned from the course like negotiation, delegation, sales, marketing and communication. As a startup, I was able to manage my accounting records for the first two years without employing an accountant, based on the skills that I developed from this module.
After the course, I received an application in the mail prompting me to apply to the Godman Sachs 10,000 Women Growth Fellowship and I was determined to apply. I will never forget how ecstatic I was when I was offered the fellowship.
It consisted of a five-day travel experience starting at London Heathrow. The amazing team from Goldman Sachs and Meridia were there every step of the way to shepherd the exchange.
The first day started on a great note –meeting the other Growth Fellows from Morocco, Egypt and South Africa and the incredible Champions that volunteered to share this experience with us. I was elated to meet Lamia Fikrat from Morocco, who is my TechWomen Fellow. We all walked to the Goldman Sachs office and had a great time bonding with one another.
The exchanged coincided with International Women’s Day 2022 which resulted in a fully packed day with activities like media training, networking, touring, coaching and entrepreneurship training. All the sessions were extremely educating and helpful, but one of my favorites was the coaching session with Goldman Sachs experts who worked with me on my business pitch. I was able to put my business in proper perspective through this session and got lots of tips to improve my operations, sales and marketing and profitability.
I would encourage every female entrepreneur to go through the three-month 10,000 Women Growth course. It is like business school in a condensed period of time and I would apply for the fellowship as soon as it is announced. It is not only life changing, but it will help you grow your business and grow as an individual Some of my key takeaways are summarized below:
- Don’t stifle your team of innovation and ideas. Allow exchange of ideas within your team.
- Being vulnerable is a superpower. Never be afraid to collaborate with others as it makes you more resilient.
- As an entrepreneur, you wear different thinking hats depending on the situation. You look at problems and opportunity from multiple angles using different mindsets. This has helped me to realize my team and I can focus on using one hat at a time in generating ideas, innovation process, analyzing ideas and solving problems.