The previous incarnation of the business – Aspire Business and Training Solutions Ltd – was established in 2005.
Maria started having children a year after establishing the business. “Maintaining a balance between motherhood and growing the business has always been my biggest challenge by far, especially when my youngest child was diagnosed as profoundly deaf in 2010.” She had to find $50,000 to fund the second cochlear implant for her son.
Using her business networks, she created a hugely successful fundraiser ‘The Gift of Sound’, which also helped other families going through the same problem. Years later, the second event netted $16,500 and led to the successful petition of parliament in 2014 to achieve funding for bilateral cochlear implants for all deaf children.
Maria’s ability to grow her business was limited by her own means and at the age of 25, she had not yet amassed great personal wealth. Her age was a challenge in itself with convincing people of her expertise, and older men in the Chartered Accounting were not shy in suggesting that she was a ‘silly little girl’ who should ‘stick to her knitting’.
There was also the issue of inspiring and motivating staff: “Just because you are good at what you do, does not mean you have the skills and maturity to inspire others.”
2010 nearly saw the demise of the business due to a series of personal and professional events. Maria has fought every step of the way to keep everything she has, and 2016 has provided her with the highest level of personal income to date.