Jillian Ryan Supports Entrepreneurs in Emerging Markets, Providing Practical Business Training
Founder and CEO, Jillian Ryan, wanted to do more to support entrepreneurs in emerging markets. She formed a stationery and lifestyle company creating products using eco-friendly paper and other sustainable lifestyle accessories, made by artisan partners in developing countries. In an effort to offer females support globally, the company formed the Marie Mae Business School, which focuses on providing practical business training to other female entrepreneurs around the globe. Every Marie Mae item purchased provides an hour of training for one person at the Marie Mae Business School.
Business Mogul: What is your purpose/vision for Marie Mae Company?
Jillian: I created Marie Mae because I wanted to use my business as a force for doing good in the world, and wanted to help our customers to do the same. We are changing the world of corporate gifting and everyone is winning: in business results, talent acquisition, customer loyalty, and happy employees. Marie Mae helps our customers give back with money they were already spending.
Business Mogul: Where did your passion to help emerging entrepreneurs stem from?
Jillian: I spent 10 years working in DC as an international political risk analyst focused primarily on Africa. I saw time and time again our large corporate customers looking to hire and source locally when doing business overseas, but oftentimes not being able to due to a lack of suitable options. At the same time, I truly believe empowering someone with the skills to build and run a profitable business is hands down the most sustainable way to address the global poverty issue. So I decided to try to do something about it.
Business Mogul: Tell us about Marie Mae Business School. How do you plan to assist entrepreneurs with the program?
Jillian: The Marie Mae Business School aims to empower our students with the practical knowledge to build and run their own businesses. Only entrepreneurs and business professionals teach our classes to bring as much real life experience and know-how as we can to our students. Classes include topics such as: how to evaluate market need, how to scale efficiently, how to pitch your business, what to look for when hiring, how to manage cashflow, etc. Classes are run as a business bootcamp, typically lasting 1 week with monthly follow-up and mentoring.
Business Mogul: Can you tell us about your initiatives to empower formerly trafficked women?
Jillian: Our current Marie Mae Business School classes are a little different. We wanted to work with our students on an ongoing basis and that typically wasn't feasible for us when holding our bootcamps overseas. Therefore, we looked for a non-profit here in the Dallas area to work with on an ongoing basis. We are currently working with a non-profit that works with trafficking survivors. We work alongside our partner on issues such as job interviewing skills, how to search for a job, how to pull together a resume, how to deal with workplace conflict, etc. We are also currently in the process of starting up entrepreneurship classes with this same group that will take place one a month for six months going thru the essentials of how to start and build your own business.