Carrie’s 5by20 story: how a hashtag led to five-year festival plan

The Coca-Cola Company 5by20 initiative is working to enable 5 million women around the world to become entrepreneurs by 2020. Carrie took part in a five-day 5by20 course in Dundee earlier this year. We caught up with her to find out how it went.

5by20: a social discovery

It was the power of social media that led to Carrie discovering the 5by20 initiative; a course that was perfect for the entrepreneur.

“I saw the 5by20 hashtag on social media, and was immediately intrigued. I sent the person a message on Facebook and six weeks later, I’m starting the course!”

Carrie is the founder of the Gin Fest, a festival that’s set to travel around five locations in Scotland this year and more in the years to come. She had recently left her full time job to put all of her time and energy into setting up the festival, and after seeing the 5by20 hashtag, she knew that the course would be a great step towards achieving her entrepreneurial goals.

The five-day intensive course

The course took place in Dundee; a city that has been home to a number of great 5by20 projects since 2016. It was short, sweet and very intensive, with the whole course taking place in just five days. Carrie was one of six women taking part, all of whom had different backgrounds, business knowledge and entrepreneurial plans. It was this mixture of people, skills and experience that led to some quick changes to the five-day course’s plan…

“At the very start, there was definitely a lesson plan in place. But as soon as it started, the plan kind of got chucked! Everyone was at a different level, so everyone was able to give guidance to one another, which I really enjoyed.”“The network of people in the course and in Dundee is amazing. They are so supportive.” – CarrieWith the relaxed lesson plan, there was more opportunity to help each other, as well as receive one-to-one advice tailored to them by the course leader.

For Carrie, the course led to a financial discovery.

“Learning about finances was a real highlight. I had a basic financial plan before I started, but I spent a whole day looking at the financials thinking ‘I could change this, I could expand on this’. It made me realise I could expand the festival out, and I ended up with a 5-year financial plan.”

Carrie and her course mates taking a well-earned break

A win-win

Carrie took part in the 5by20 course to learn more about business, but the course had an added benefit, as it allowed her to meet different people from The Coca-Cola Company, including representatives from Schweppes.

For someone looking to host a country-wide gin festival, getting to talk business with the brand behind the nation’s favourite tonic was a great opportunity.

“I got to speak to the Schweppes team after the course, and they seemed to love my ideas. Hopefully now Schweppes will be involved in The Gin Fest moving forward.”

Carrie’s encouragement to others

The course was a big hit with Carrie, who would urge anyone thinking about taking part to “totally do it”.

“There isn’t anything to lose. The network of people in the course and in Dundee is amazing. They are so supportive. Whether you go for a day or a week, it’s so beneficial, both for what you learn and because of the people you meet.”

5by20 is about more than just offering entrepreneurs advice; it’s about building a network. As Carrie’s experience shows, even a brilliantly put together lesson plan doesn’t stand a chance against the power of a group of entrepreneurs all lending each other a hand.

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