Business news

NI entrepreneurs and popular BBC presenter join forces to help unlock your inner boss

Posted By: The Open University

26th May 2022

Two young entrepreneurs from two of the fastest growing sectors in Northern Ireland are helping BBC TV and Radio 1 presenter Gemma Cairney take the helm of a ‘business’ this week as part of The Open University’s challenge to inspire young people to ‘Unlock Your Inner Boss’.

On Wednesday 25th May, James Blake, Founder and Managing Director of globally recognised digital marketing and SEO firm Vindicta Digital and Emily McGowan, acting Managing Partner at the award winning Millbank Farm and Director of Millbank Farm Shop will take part in an interactive livestream to guide Gemma when she tackles a set of business challenges.

Gemma will also enlist the help of her live online audience to crowdsource decisions and call on a first class line up of academics and alumni, together with her expert guests.

New research commissioned by The Open University has discovered that almost half of young people (45%) feel trapped in a job they can’t stand.

While 82 % of young people said they dream of being their own boss and three-quarters describe themselves as having an entrepreneurial spirit and reckon they have what it takes to be successful, the study of 1,500 20- to 35-year-olds suggests it’s difficult to find something new, with 28% feeling they fell into a career path they can’t get out of.

John D’Arcy Director at The Open University said: “It’s amazing to see the positive entrepreneurial attitude that young people have.  Lots of young people know they have the potential to do bigger and better things but are unsure how to access their dream job. We hope the OU can be the solution to the barriers that some of the younger generations are facing.  Flexible study with the OU gives young people the ability to earn while they learn and offer a chance to upskill to land their dream job whilst pursuing a side hustle at the same time.”

Gemma Cairney said: “I’m thrilled to be taking part in the OU’s ‘Unlock Your Inner Boss’ LIVE challenge. It’s brilliant to see that young people today have such positive mindsets about feeling entrepreneurial – they clearly want to take control of their careers and so many are planning their own side hustles. Hopefully watching me in the UYIB challenge will show that everyone is capable of achieving their dream job, given the right mindset and support. I’ve always considered myself to have an entrepreneurial mindset and I can’t wait to see what challenges the day has to offer!”

James Blake who studied with the OU in the early days of building his business explained why he was keen to get involved in the challenge: “I’m a massive believer in taking action towards goals and business projects so The Open University is the perfect solution. You can continue to grow your business while also learning. I think it is a fantastic alternative to full time education”.

Agreeing that continuing education is a crucial for success in business, Emily McGowan added: “When I set up the business, I was really green and I quickly learned that you need to invest in yourself and encourage your team to develop themselves too to successfully scale up the business.  The flexibility that the OU offers to people in my sector is incredibly attractive.

Tune in to The Open University’s Unlock Your Inner Boss LIVE- The CEO Challenge on the 25th May and watch Gemma tackle the challenge live on Facebook, Linkedin or YouTube #OUinnerboss