You’ve come a long way, Barbie

I grew up with Barbie. My first arrived with little sister, Skipper (pictured below), in 1963 when I was three years old. I loved my Barbie because I was the only girl in the family. She and Skipper (and Midge and Francine) became my sisters. They loved to try on clothes, go places and be anything my imagination could conceive. They had all the coolest stuff and wore the most extravagant clothes.

Barbie and Skipper

In the mid-1960s we were consumed with space travel, and so Barbie became an astronaut in 1965. Remember, the 1960s were just the start of the feminist movement. The concept that women could have such bold careers was really innovative and inspiring for young girls at the time.

Fast forward to 2014, and Barbie has become a relevant role model for me once again.

You see, I’m an entrepreneur, currently owning and running two businesses. I can completely relate to Entrepreneur Barbie and I love that Mattel has created bursaries for young entrepreneurs to fulfill their dreams. Entrepreneur Barbie has hit the store shelves this summer complete with tablet, smart phone, briefcase and a chic clutch. This is Barbie’s 150th career.

Entrepreneur Barbie

I spoke with Erica Diamond, Barbie’s Canadian Chief Inspiration Officer, about why Barbie still captures the hearts of children after all these years.

“I think it’s because every girl dreams of being a grown up woman,” said Erica. “Imaginative storytelling helps girls experience the world through Barbie.”

Erica became Canada’s only Chief Inspiration Officer because she is so passionate about empowering girls and women. “There’s been a 30 percent increase in female entrepreneurs in Canada, so Barbie’s newest career comes at a perfect time – she’s so relevant to girls today,” said Erica.

Young entrepreneurs can apply for one of three $2,500 bursaries that will be awarded in the fall by going to Applicants must be under the age of 18, and parental consent is required. All nominations have to be in by August 31st. Ten finalists will be selected and three will be chosen as winners. Erica and two others will be on the selection panel.

The bursary is intended to fund ‘big ideas’ that young entrepreneurs want to pursue. “The bursary can go toward supplies and materials and other things needed to fund their big idea,” said Erica.

Mattel will follow up with the bursary winners after a few months to see how it’s going. “I will be available to the winners if they want to discuss their ideas,” said Erica. “Mentors are so important; they help propel us toward our dreams.”

Barbies 1963, 2014

As for me, well I was never an astronaut, nurse or teacher, but I’ve certainly been an entrepreneur. In the 51 years since I first met Barbie, I’m glad Entrepreneur Barbie has arrived with a career to which I can totally relate.

And kudos to Mattel for not only inspiring young entrepreneurs but also helping them realize their dreams.

(NOTE: I bought my own Entrepreneur Barbie. There has been no compensation for this post.)

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