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Jessy Mandilou

France

Jessy Mandilou is an ambitious twenty-six-year-old Lille-based digital marketing specialist who's committed to helping her clients. 

After a disappointing year spent working for various employers, in 2018 Jessy made up her mind and set up her own business. This was the result of three main reasons: firstly, she needed the flexibility to make the most of her creativity; secondly, she couldn’t really find the right role that matched her profile, which made the feeling of being rejected worse; and the third, and probably biggest, push came during a speaking opportunity where the audience, despite being much older than her, were eager to learn more about how to adapt to this new era where digital marketing impacts every layer of society. Jessy soon realised there was an opportunity for her and decided to create Purpose Communication Web, an agency supporting small and medium enterprises and self-employed professionals to develop their web communication and expand their customer base and influence. 

As with every new venture, Jessy came across some initial challenges, mainly personal and financial. On one hand, her parents were not comfortable with the idea of her starting her own business with all the risks connected to it and would have preferred the security of employment for their daughter. Unfortunately, many of her applications were not successful and even the option of working as a freelancer was not a viable alternative as Jessy feels that companies in France are reluctant to hire someone working for themselves. 

On the financial side, Jessy knew that, as a young woman with no available capital, most banks wouldn’t consider investing in Purpose Communication Web, so she chose to seek support from Adie, a microfinance organisation providing access to credit to people and communities who are underprivileged or financially excluded. 

In only 18 months, Purpose Communication Web worked on over twenty projects and made as many satisfied clients. Building on her success so far, Jessy’s plan is to create local job opportunities starting in Lille and moving abroad, especially in Africa. She would like to hire two social media managers and a web designer, which would allow her to focus on the administrative and commercial part of the company as well as giving her the time to participate in training and conferences.

Sadly, the COVID-19 crisis has hit many small businesses, including Jessy’s. Her activity has slowed down while lockdown measures were in place in France, so she decided to apply for government support. However, her business is still running and she hopes to get back on her feet soon. 

Jessy has three pieces of advice for aspiring young entrepreneurs:

  • Understand why you want to become an entrepreneur. If you do it for the hype, the Instagram glam and the glory that comes with the status, you will be disappointed when you realise your first year isn't as good as you expected. 
  • Don’t do it for money. As important as financial stability is, you should have people in mind first and think about how your service is going to change their lives.
  • Don’t let anybody tell you you’re too young, not even yourself! We are millennials, age has never been an indicator of our capacity to do the job or not.

Adie is part of the Youth Business Europe programme, a regional initiative supported by the Citi Foundation to help young entrepreneurs to start or grow a business.

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Those who make it possible

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Citi Foundation

Citi Foundation

Google.org

Google.org

Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells

Argidius Foundation

Argidius Foundation

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