North Canterbury businesses are facing unprecedented challenges amid the evolving Covid-19 situation. Each week we’ll profile a local business which is thinking outside the box to adapt to a new reality. Let’s share ideas and support local businesses. Gina McKenzie While many businesses have pressed pause on new projects, Waiau-based coach Marina Shearer accelerated the launch of her initiative Thrive13 forward a month to help Year 13 girls during uncertain times. The coaching programme aims to boost the confidence of Year 13 females during their final year of high school while equipping them with the skills to navigate future study and career paths. A weekly topic is explored each day with Marina acting as a facilitator and mentor while participants also discuss the topics amongst themselves. Due to the Covid-19 situation, Marina is providing the first four months of the programme for no charge to reach as many young people as possible. “It felt right to launch earlier than planned because it’s an unsettling time and I want to help as many Year 13 girls as possible while they are making decisions about their future lives during their final year. “There’s no charge from now until at least 31 st July to make the service available as many girls throughout New Zealand as possible.” The idea for Thrive13 has been a passion of Marina’s for many years following a personal challenge that she experienced during her own university study. “I ended up changing degrees and universities and the experience made me realise how vulnerable I was to outside influences. Looking back, I would have done things differently if I had more personal confidence, I’d like to think I’m helping to send girls off with more tools in their toolbox to succeed at whatever they choose to do.” Twenty-four girls from across New Zealand signed up by the launch date last week and Marina is hoping more will join as her Thrive13 community expands and word gets out about what is on offer. “With the huge amount of pressure facing young people today it’s vital that they have the skills to succeed in the real world and I would love all girls to have access to this kind of support.” Marina is working on how this programme can be available to more girls, but for now her focus is supporting those who have signed up during their isolation period and encouraging them with habit formation, positive psychology and a focus on gratitude. Marina’s advice to fellow business owners is to make the most of the lockdown period by strategically evaluating their business processes. “Don’t miss this opportunity to dive deep into your business and see what’s working and what needs adding or removing from your business model. “Believe in yourself and try out some new ideas. If you have an idea, make sure to give it some room to breathe.” Marina is currently seeking feedback from young women aged around 25 who have completed tertiary study and have some work experience. This research material will provide real life examples for Thrive13 participants. To learn more about Thrive13 or to participate in the study please visit www.thrivethirteen.com.