We were invited to pitch The Green Store at this year’s Global Youth Forum in Dubai and we WON!! We came in first place in the category of Environmental Sustainability and 2nd place overall. I couldn’t have imagined a better way to close out the year.
The aim of the forum was to bring together young people from all over the world to discuss and redefine what it means to think as an entrepreneur in today’s knowledge based economic climate. This conference, set to the backdrop of beautiful, scenic and lavish Dubai, was absolutely epic.
10 Things I learned:
10/ It’s always inspiring to connect with young leaders around the globe.
It’s always such an exciting, inspiring and educational experience to connect and share ideas with young entrepreneurs from all over the world. Forum participants hailed from every corner of the globe, each working on innovative projects that push the world forward.
9/ There’s no shame in 2nd place.
Of course, no one ever wants to come in 2nd place, but I’m pretty proud of what I accomplished. A year ago, The Green Store was just an idea that I wanted to bring to life in my hometown and now it’s a global brand. One of the most important lessons I try to instill in my students is the importance of embracing and redefining failure. Second place out of over 100 project proposals all across the globe is just proof that there is a need for TGS worldwide.
Meet Aurelia Abena Attipoe. Her project is to build a start-up incubator for young entrepreneurs in Ghana. She believes that empowering local artisans and entrepreneurs will fuel economic development in her country. She said, “if we push Ghana forward, we push Africa forward. And if we push Africa forward, we push the entire world forward.” An aspiring future president of Ghana, I’m confident she will do just that.
8/ Consider your impact
I am constantly trying to find ways to strengthen my positive impact both as an individual and as a business. Although we have vowed to donate a portion of profits from The Green Store to Charity Water, I feel like we can and should be doing more.
While in Dubai, we met an amazing young woman from Sudan who is working to provide clean drinking water to people in her country. I promised her that I would figure out some way to support her cause and intend to do so. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a clean water project on the ground and am constantly searching for ways to make the Green Store as impactful as it can be.
7/ Practice your pitch.
There’s no punchline here. Practice makes (nowhere close to) perfect. We stayed up all night practicing our pitch and although it wasn’t perfect, I felt more confident about it when it came time to get on stage. We were also one of the last groups to present and we could tell that the audience was feeling a little antsy. So, we decided to take them through a quick exercise to re-energize. I think a good balance of prep and spontaneity is key when it comes to pitching.
6/ Pack light + carry on.
This is certainly not a new lesson for me. After having my luggage lost on many important international trips, I knew that checking my bag would not be an option. Unfortunately Alexander had to learn this the hard way. His luggage was lost for the first few days of our trip. He made the best of it, of course – but why not just avoid the drama all together. It’s never good to be attached to things but when you just want a clean pair of underwear at the end of a long day chile, you’ll be happy you followed my advice.
5/ Be thoughtful with your attire.
The United Arab Emirates has a deep sense of tradition and values traditional, modest clothing. I tried as much as possible to be thoughtful with my clothing and pack things that not only worked for the weather, but that were also respectful and showcased my sense of style.
4/ Stay in beautiful places + spaces.
The Rove City Hotel had the perfect blend of modern quirkiness and cultural appreciation. I’m obsessed with design hotels and seek them out wherever I go. Luckily, the hotel that was chosen for us is one that I would have totally chosen for myself.
3/ Make meaningful connections
It was really incredible to see how many people gravitated towards the idea of The Green Store. As I teach my students, it’s not about networking just for the sake of networking, but to actually try as much as possible to forge meaningful relationships with people. I can’t wait to throw a dart at the globe and figure out where TGS is going to go next.
2/ Get outside
We had an amazing time dune bashing through the desert in Dubai. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a little bit scary but so fun. It was so beautiful being able to watch the sun set over the sand and we had an amazing dinner at a camp that was set up for us. There, we were able to ride camels, get henna and see some incredible performances.
1/ Count your blessings
In the caption I included with this picture I quoted Cardi B, “I promise I didn’t luck up, been grinding all night didn’t sleep till the sun up”. I feel like this is the perfect embodiment of my time in Dubai. I’m sure some people may think that I travel and am given the opportunities that I’ve been given out of pure luck but the fact of the matter is I work really $#@%&*$ hard. And as Rihanna would say.. “Ain’t none of it promised…” So enjoy it while it lasts.