My message I’d like to share is to never let fear get in between you and your ambitions. Always ask questions, always aim to be better. You can do anything if you simply choose to believe that you can.
Being brought up in a disadvantaged South Wales community gave Lesley Owen a great amount of passion to make positive change and to encourage more young people to achieve their dreams. It also inspired her to help more women into enterprise and give them confidence to reach their full potential.
Having graduated in 2015 from the Post Graduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship Practice, the course was the perfect stepping stone giving Lesley better business knowledge and a confidence boost to take her business idea forward.
She now owns a bespoke Teddy Bear brand called Fifi Stitch and works for the Welsh Government as a Big Ideas Young Ambassador.
Lesley tells us in her own words about her achievements over the last two years:
"I feel blessed that every day is completely different. I’ve been growing my brand for 19 months, which involves making bespoke teddy bears from scratch, talking to customers and developing my online presence. I’m also writing a children’s book based around the fictional story of Fifi Stitch.
As a result of developing my network as an entrepreneur, I have also become a young leader in my community. I am the youngest board member for Made in the Valleys – Connecting and promoting local artists to develop a more professional sustainable future for themselves.
I work for the Welsh Government to inspire entrepreneurial spirit among other young people in my local colleges and universities, and I am now also an expert witness for the national assembly of Wales as a young female entrepreneur.
This is whilst also starting up a female led Community Interest Company with 2 others to support more women into enterprise, particularly from minority groups, and for the first time I’ve developed a drive to become involved in politics as 1 of 3 female leaders behind the Cardiff branch of the Womens Equality Party."
As for some of Lesley's highlights - she shares a snapshot of her inspirational journey so far:
"I have been lucky enough to be shortlisted for awards such as The Future Entrepreneur awards and Great British Entrepreneur Awards. I was also honoured to win a significant amount of funding from Bright Ideas Den to develop a unique website for the Fifi Stitch brand. I was also the only female to be chosen to participate in an EU funded project in Greece/Athens as a young Welsh entrepreneur to inspire entrepreneurial spirit in the city and among other international partners. During this time I delivered workshops on financial strategies to start up business with very little."