Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jackie Appel, Founder of Step-in Step-up, located in Yangon, Yangon, Myanmar.

What's your organization, and who are your members?

Step-in-Step-up is a non-profit organization based in Myanmar that empowers local youth with vocational skills and then helps them find good jobs. Our customers are our trainees, our partner organizations that employ our graduates, and our donors who enable us through funding.

Tell us about yourself

Step-in Step-up started in my house, training a few local people in housekeeping skills that prepared them to find jobs. Through a partnership with companies in Myanmar, we grew to become a world-class vocational training center with up to 300 trainees at a time and an 80% placement rate.

Every time one of our graduates gets a job, it brings hope and support to a family who often rely solely on this income. It also ensures a trainee has avoided being exploited, and this keeps us very motivated and focused on our mission.

What's your biggest accomplishment as an organization?

Every successful graduate who gets a job is an accomplishment. It is one more person and family that is less likely to go hungry.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being an organization?

Staying focused on our core mission. There are so many areas needing help that it can be tempting to divert from this. We keep reminding ourselves why we are here so we can make a bigger impact.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow an organization today?

  1. Believe passionately in your vision. If you don’t, don’t do it.
  2. Work with people that share your passion and vision.
  3. There will always be negativity, and there will always be stumbling blocks. These issues will strengthen you if you don’t let them affect you.

Where can people find you and your group?



If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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