Starting Up a New Business
I'm passionate about kids learning languages, particularly Asian languages, early – when their minds are most open to doing so. I think in Australia we overlook how much richness this kind of skill brings to life, and even if we start our kids learning other languages, we start them so late and do it in such a way as to make it a drudgery, rather than a delight. I was lucky enough to have started learning other languages and visiting other cultures when in primary school and I have had a wonderful life as a result of doing so. This has included many rich working opportunities, a number of which have been directly attributable to having had a working knowledge of other languages and having lived in four non-Western cultures. For example, I've had international diplomatic postings, worked in international business, done volunteer work for a UN-auspiced organisation, and a NGO-auspiced Women's War Crimes Tribunal and been lucky enough to have helped different community organizations and individuals in different ways. I’ve also been blessed with many lasting intercultural friendships, to name but a few ways that knowledge of other languages and cultures (particularly Japanese) has really enriched my life.
After quitting a 20-year corporate career to spend more time with my own young family, I was keen for my children to have an inspiring start to learning other languages, particularly Asian ones. I searched for some time for the kind of practical yet joyful play-based learning I wanted for them yet I couldn’t find the kind of learning opportunity I was seeking. Having been a language teacher myself prior to a 20-year corporate career (and having tutored language privately, as I love doing so, throughout most of that career), I decided to launch an educational services business so that my own and other local kids could have lots of fun whilst benefitting from early exposure to another language and culture. I also wanted to explore a business opportunity that both fitted in with my passions and my commitment to being available to my children much more than I had been - being my own boss of a business that I am passionate about, whilst hard work, is infinitely more flexible, child-friendly and delightful - than the corporate work world that I left!
Receiving a Micro-credit Loan
This micro-credit loan will allow me to pay off my website whilst earning from it, alleviating the need for a big up-front injection of capital to finance a website at a stage of the business when I would prefer to minimize debt or leverage debt to improve other aspects of the business; the business mentoring will also keep me on my toes to ensure that my financial modeling and thus overall business planning and activities are as tightly focused as possible to ensure long term viability of my business so that I can continue to be my own boss and combine work and family responsibilities in the best way I can to maximize both financial returns for effort and my availability for my children.
Creating a Sustainable Business
Through the professional website development afforded by this loan, I hope that my business will develop more quickly than originally planned through reaching new client families beyond those in the immediate area in which I have been successfully operating pilot programs through word-of-mouth alone. It will also enable me to better tailor my future business activities and attract further business opportunities. In freeing up my scarce resources from interest and a steep repayment plan for a website, I can also better focus my energies on all of the other important steps that, taken together, will put me in the best possible place to develop a sustainable business in the long term.
The Brilliant Idea Program
Whilst I was unable to participate in the group orientation sessions and workshops due to childcare responsibilities, I was impressed at how my commitment to mothering did not rule me out of consideration in the selection process, and I felt well supported by the flexibility and accessibility of Lighthouse’s business advisors via phone and e-mail.
I would strongly urge anyone who may be considering applying for a Microcredit loan to touch base early and regularly with the Lighthouse advisory team and to back this up by forwarding a completed draft application prior to submitting a final one to check that its on the right track and ask if there are ways to strengthen it, given the competitive nature of the process. Applicants should make sure they have gone into some detail in obtaining a comprehensive range of quotes for the activities they wish to get funded, and be able to persuasively articulate reasons for wanting the loan and for using their preferred provider.
I would also urge applicants to “think big” in terms of where they would like to take their business in the future.
info [at] learningadventures [dot] com [dot] au
Posted June 2010