BLM talks with The Apprentice contestant Joanna Jarjue about her plans to launch an ethical clothing brand.
Born in Gambia
I was born in Gambia but moved to the UK when I was six years old. I’m 24 now and recently graduated from Newcastle University – taking Politics. Following this I worked for Google in a contractor role where I had a portfolio of around 50 digital marketing agencies I would support.
In my second year at University I had an idea for an ethical workwear brand and I knew I wanted to be in business, so I applied to be on The Apprentice and was accepted. It felt like an amazing opportunity to catapult yourself into the world of business.
It was a huge challenge, but I learnt so much and feel like I fast-tracked my business knowledge.
Post Apprentice I’m now working on developing the brand that I pitched as part of the final five contestants on the show. It’s for women’s workwear. I’m launching it now but taking my time to make sure it’s how I want it to be.
It’s an ethical brand that appeals to millennial women and if you buy the product you’re helping a girl in the developing world to buy a school uniform. I’m not launching the business for the sake of launching it, but to try and do something positive.
I’m currently looking for funding for the business but there are so many different options out there. It has meant that I’ve had to come up with several contingency plans based on each funding eventuality.
My number one choice would be an angel investor but it’s important to have the right relationship, and for them to understand that my business has an ethical core.
My background drives me on
Where I came from drives me on. I didn’t have a ridiculously difficult life – and I don’t have a sob story – but the opportunities I’ve had in the UK make me think that I have a duty to do my best and give back to those less fortunate than me.
If I don’t use the chances I’ve had to best of my ability then it’s a disservice to all the people that haven’t had those opportunities..