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You Make It (YMI) is a grassroots organisation that started life around an East End kitchen table. With National Lottery funding, the organisation has been able to grow and offer business funding, workshops, work placements and much more to inspire women to create and empower themselves to achieve successful careers.

You Make It (YMI) is a grassroots organisation that started life around the kitchen table of East End resident Asma Shah in 2011, offering an inspiring development programme to BAME and working-class women aged 18-30.

Asma had been raised by a single mum-of-four in Peckham who had fled violence but managed to forge a career in the creative industries, so she well understood the socio-economic and emotional barriers to achieving your potential as a vulnerable woman.

After a pilot scheme, National Lottery funding was used to open the six-month programme to 25 women twice a year. Participants attend workshops covering a range of topics, undertake bespoke work placements, one-to-one mentoring with highly networked professionals, therapy to address any mental health concerns, and literacy support.

They also get start-up business experience at Old Spitalfields Market, where aspiring designer-makers can test products and acquire sales and negotiation skills. They can take part in Ladies Den, where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch start-up ideas to win 12 months of on-going business coaching, small cash grants, enterprise-related masterclasses and access to free co-working space.

Programme manager, Roxi Jahanshahi, says: “Our work creates a network of happy, healthy, mutually supportive young women who transform how they see themselves and who use this to fully realise their potential.

“Our women begin to realise the value of sisterhood, and go on to inspire others in their families and communities to take care of themselves holistically and seize life’s opportunities because of a new belief that their lives matter and that they are capable of making the most of it with the right support.”

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