Nolana Lynch launched Eco-Truffles, a skin care range that supports and employs Caribbean women, after beginning her PhD in earth and environmental science. As research gave way to social enterprise, Nolana decided it was time to take the next step in her career, with the Master of Entrepreneurship at Wade institute.
Nolana launched her business, Eco-Truffles, seven years ago, after spending time working on a research project that involved analysing beaches and coastal change. The initial idea was to launch a business that produced natural and organic hair, face and skincare products, using indigenous Caribbean ingredients, while weaving in a social enterprise component that supports underprivileged children and families. Now, Eco-Truffles continues to source all of their raw ingredients from women living in rural areas, with 95% of their employees being female.
‘That was all at the core of Eco-Truffles from the beginning, but then it started to grow really quickly. It got to the point where I started to think it would be worthwhile pursuing some sort study in Entrepreneurship, something where I could solidify and formalise my learning, and get some more expertise in the area.’
Initially, Nolana started looking at programs in Europe, but ultimately, it was the unique structure of the Master of Entrepreneurship that won her over.
‘I really loved the way it was packaged as something fun, practical and exciting. I couldn’t see myself going backwards and I didn’t want to be hamstrung by study after I’d spent so much time in the working world and running my own business. I wanted to be a dynamic entrepreneur, and this program was the perfect fit for me,’ she says.
‘Working in an environment like the Wade Institute is really rare. Here, there’s space to explore ideas, to try new things, and to pivot if something isn’t working. You also have this support network of other Entrepreneurs all around you, and you can bounce ideas off each other. Out there, in the world, there’s no safety net, and it shows, something like 90% of businesses close before they reach the one-year mark. You have to have the passion to make it work, you have to do whatever it takes. Looking back on it, I knew my business was really great, and I sacrificed a lot to get it to where it is now. I was eating, sleeping and breathing the project, but I can’t tell you what else I did over those seven years.’
Nolana says that one of her major takeaways from the Master of Entrepreneurship is the need to take a more holistic approach to launching a business, and to think about the impact that pursuit is having on other parts of your life. It’s a philosophy that she’s applying now as a graduate.
‘I have a great team at Eco-truffles, I was able to take a step back as I was studying, and my Mum now takes a big part in the business. My partner and I are planning to stay in Melbourne from this point on, so now I’m considering what comes next. While I was working on the Master of Entrepreneurship, I did a project looking at wellness coaching for professional parents. I had some great clients, and it was an interesting project which I’m still working on now along with Eco-Truffles, but I’m exploring possibilities.’
As an experienced entrepreneur who launched her first business quite young, Nolana has a unique perspective on the state of entrepreneurship.
‘There’s a real cult of youth in the entrepreneurship sector, this pressure to be the next Zuckerberg. While youth definitely gives you energy, as you become older and more experienced, you gain perspective. You realise you can take your time and build a quality business rather than trying to rush something to launch. Life is about balance. You can work in this space, and you can add value, without burning yourself out.’
Interested in studying Entrepreneurship? The Master of Entrepreneurship at Wade Institute will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to develop, launch and grow innovative enterprises and to successfully commercialise your own products and services.
Find out more about how you can learn in a completely new way here.