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JT helps empower and mentor the next generation of female leaders

Posted: Tuesday 12 July 2022

JT leaders will join other business figures in guiding students from JCG and around the world as they take part in a global female leadership programme this week. LEAP, which stands for Leadership and Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme, is open to all girls aged 14 to 18 and develops business and leadership skills with the participants launching social enterprise projects which are pitched to a group of business dragons.

JT’s Group Senior Legal Counsel and Head of Sustainability, Gill Knights, and JT International’s Head of Solution Design and Innovation, Marcus Irwin, will join local and international experts from across the business spectrum to act as coaches and mentors during the ten-day programme.

Local students will be joined by students from China, Taiwan, India, Turkey, Austria, Rwanda and the USA. They will be split into teams to come up with business ideas that they will pitch to a ‘Dragons Den’ at the end of the programme. There is real money at stake with up to £2,000 going to the winning team out of a total prize fund of £4,000. Previous projects have been based on social inclusion and waste management.

JT International’s Marcus Irwin will be on the panel of eight dragons, and he said: “This is an amazing opportunity for the young women who will be the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders. As a father, I understand the importance of nurturing talent from an early age and LEAP does a huge amount to bring that out of all those that take part.

As with our own recently launched JT Venture, a platform for ambitious start-ups and entrepreneurs to partner with JT and take their business to the next level, I will be looking closely at each proposition to see whether they have thought about supply chains, customer journeys, the digital outlook and just how they’ll fund their business ideas. This presents a real chance of investment and I have no doubt these girls will deliver business ideas that we’ll all see in the not too distant future.”

Throughout the week the students will take part in team building exercises and workshops and will hear inspirational talks from business leaders across all sectors, one of which is JT’s Senior Legal Counsel and Head of Sustainability, Gill knights, who will share how she came from an engineering and legal background to reach her current position.

JT will be donating SIM packs to all the visiting students for the duration of the programme.

Peter le Masurier, from JCG, added: “This is the third year we have hosted LEAP and we are incredibly lucky to have so many prominent businesses involved along with successful business leaders who are prepared to give up their time to guide our students. I am looking forward to seeing how our students and the visiting students interact with each other, taking onboard, sharing knowledge and making the most of the invaluable advice and help they will be getting.”

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