Entrepreneur has Branson’s ear on jobs

Sydney entrepreneur Gemma Manning is set to pitch a business idea to Richard Branson aimed at helping disadvantaged women.

Entrepreneur Gemma Manning is jetting off to pitch her business idea to billionaire Richard Branson in a bid to create thousands of jobs for disadvantaged women.

Ms Manning, the founder of two Sydney-based businesses, will have the ear of Mr Branson next week on his private tropical island, where he is hosting an event for entrepreneurs.

“I’m quite nervous, a little bit on edge,” Ms Manning told AAP.

“The project is pretty special to me.”

The mother of two girls will seek support for her venture Light Years, a program which aims to help 18 to 25 year-old disadvantaged women excel in work and life.

“I feel quite passionate that I want my own girls to grow up in a world where it doesn’t matter what background you’re from, whether you’re female or male, you should be able to follow your dreams and have an equal opportunity,” she said.

Light Years plans to recruit women who are not in employment, education or training, and offer online education, mentoring, coaching, workshops and holistic development.

Ms Manning said she is determined to make the project happen and will accept any assistance from Mr Branson and his Virgin businesses.

The Light Years business plan, which has been three years in the making, has aims of creating at least 2000 jobs and potentially thousands more globally.

“This is a project that has global application and hopefully social and economic impacts around the world,” she said.

“Having been a businesswoman experiencing a number of challenges myself first hand, coming from an educated background and a middle class upbringing, I can’t imagine some of the challenges that young women have that haven’t been as fortunate as me.”

This article was published on SBS Australia. Read the article here.