From horseback riding to an archivist and back
Gerda Žibūdaitė, one of the leaders of the network of women entrepreneurs, is an example and inspiration for more than one businesswomen in Marijampolė County. Starting from 12 years of age, Gerda has been horse-riding for almost all her life.
Although after graduating from high school, she decided to leave horses and escape to another city to study the Bachelor of Archivistics, it was not so easy to disentangle everything. In the first study year one of Gerda’s horses got sick, so she had to search for ways to make money. Gerda decided to do what she was best at - to take riding training lessons. This is how the business idea started developing. Due to the fact that horse riding is all about the contact, the maximum of training sessions per week was quickly reached. However, later Gerda discovered that her passion is to work only with horses - train them and prepare them for the race, such horses can be sold to the market.
This whole story has given birth to the horse sports club "Tandem", which was founded 3 years ago. The activity of the club was at its peak when the Lithuanian champion coach became a member of the club and attracted several perspective young riders. Recently he had to leave, as today Marijampole has no prospect of growing like an equestrian coach and earning money because of its low popularity.
As in life - so in business: there are ups and downs. Even though Gerda's pace with horses is currently paused, she looks to the future in a positive way. The woman is happy that the break at work will be the first vacation in her life, as she soon leaves for Thailand. "Without horses, like without children," Gerda shares and says that she has sold all the horses at the moment, so now is the best time to lift her wings and travel around the world. Though she will be working with horses in Thailand, Gerda relates to a completely new, fresh experience from which she hopes to get inspiration and new ideas.
While Gerda was recently facing business challenges, she was accompanied by the FREE project co-ordinated by Kaunas Science and Technology Park. During her career, Gerda joined the Women's Networking Group, where she coordinated meetings with six girls involved in various business activities in Marijampolė and Prienai districts.
"Women need to be supported in their activities. Often, when starting a business activity, we get a lot of criticism and only when good results are obtained, when support is no longer that important, we start getting encouragement" Gerda remarks.
During this period, the group members monitored the ongoing changes and shared experiences. Some of the members' activities changed over the course of the year: one girl stopped working with providing food for events and started making stylish handmade bags. All this shows how dynamic the activities of business women were and how gatherings of like-minded helped to better understand which direction to go. Gerda is pleased to have had the opportunity to get acquainted with the different experiences of businesswomen, who gave valuable knowledge and encouraged to develop her business.
Asked what advice could be given to women who are hesitant to start their own profitable activity or to those who took the step but are facing a downturn or challenges, Gerda confidently replies: "If you feel that this is your track, it is very important not to give up and fight for your future. I am sure that sooner or later the hard work pays off and ultimately by learning and growing, everything turns out well."