- Tell us a bit about your background
I studied Business at Nottingham University. I have always been interested in business for social good. During my time at university I was part of Enactus, a social enterprise society where I was fortunate to get involved with a project called “Bottle by Bottle” — building safe and affordable housing from waste materials for disadvantaged communities. Post university I interned with Balloon Ventures in Kenya supporting entrepreneurs to set up their new business. I then took part in a Fellowship programme, which was a one-year post-grad focussed on social innovation. During this time, I interned at a school for six months where I got the idea for Career Accelerator to help diverse young pupils access careers in the digital sector
2. What is the motivation behind career accelerator?
During my time at the school in South London, I got to work with some very bright, driven, young people but unfortunately due to a lack of family or school connections, they were unable to access internship opportunities. They were missing out on career support, mentorship, and work experience, which put them at a disadvantage when applying to University or Apprenticeships. This motivated me to start Career Accelerator to act as a bridge between top technology businesses and top students from disadvantaged backgrounds. More importantly it was to equip these young individuals with the skills required to succeed in the new digital economy. We have since worked with the likes of LinkedIn, Google, Vodafone and Just Eat.
3. How important is social impact for technology businesses?
Firstly, social impact is a great way to shape a company’s culture. This is through driving diversity & inclusion and building a strong sense of community.
Secondly, technology firms have so much power and influence in our society. Everything in today’s world is underpinned by technology. It makes sense that the firms that have the most power are required to give back and do something that is beneficial for society.
Lastly, it is important to be held to account by society. CEOs of start-ups and large technology companies are often compared to politicians with their impact and influence. However, they have not been elected into these position, so social responsibility is a good way for the firms to be held to account whilst also making money.
4. You’ve also recently launched a new social enterprise called Master Money. Tell us more about Master Money?
Master Money helps young working professionals learn to grow their wealth. We achieve this by connecting individuals with a financial advisor who will participate in a set of financial coaching sessions covering topics from budgeting, long-term planning and wealth creation. Wealth management does not tend to be taught at schools, so not every individual has previous knowledge or access to this information. We are here to bridge the gap.
5. What is your attitude to savings and investing?
I have had to teach myself as I did not really learn much about it in school. I have realised that it can be broken down, made simple and baked into daily habits. It super important to be accountable and understand ones financial situation. When I first started my business, I wasn’t so focussed on my bottom line however now I am more conscious of my finances, that has become even more important to me. I made an effort to educate myself about savings and investment products, so that I can preserve money for a rainy day and also have the ability to invest back into my business.
6. What top tips would you give young entrepreneurs about managing their finances?
Focus on the financials — running a business can be exciting but you always need to make sure to balance your business acumen with financial acumen. A lot of young founders are concerned with how any social media likes they have, number of customers and what their website looks, however less concerned about how much money they are making in the short term. My considerations would be to start paying attention to your cashflow and P & L from Day one; clearly understanding how much is coming in and out. Whilst you may love your venture and it has potential, if you are not making more money than is going out nor have a plan to do so then it is not sustainable.
Be patient — we all hear stories of the huge successful technology entrepreneurs but it’s important not to compare yourself to other individuals and focus in your lane. Focus on your long-term financial future of where you want your business to get to. Then work backwards to understand how to get there.
Budget and plan — whilst you may not be able to immediately influence how much money is coming today, you can work hard to reduce your expenditure in the short term by budgeting, saving, and spending smartly.
7. Who did you admire most growing up?
As a celebrity, I always admired Elton John based on his philanthropy and work in LGBT inclusion. I have always been attracted to polymaths who are specialists and experts in multiple fields. I thought Elton John did that quite well. A non-famous example would be Alick Varma, who founded a venture called Osper helping young people with financial education. I got to know Alick on a personable level — I admire his success, humble nature and how he leads by example.
8. What are your interests outside of work?
I really love running and I am part of a running club called London Frontrunners. It gives me an excuse to do something which adds to my social life and fitness. I am really into the theatre and I am quite involved in the D & I agenda, so as nerdy as it sounds, I enjoy going to network events and conferences. I am also a member of the Rebels Book Club which is the largest non-fiction book club in the UK.
9. What is your hope for the future of the digital enterprise sector?
It’s been great to see the growth we’ve experienced as a result of technological change; I wish to see this grow. Although, I would love to see more underrepresented groups getting involved in the digital space. I think it is still very much seen like a domain for Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and there is not enough female, ethnic minority or working-class representation within the space. The innovators we have are just the tip of the iceberg and we could have x4 the number of innovators if there were more diverse participants. This would also pave a way for the next generation. I also envisage a world where more nations collaborate to share good practices and resources to support future innovation that is accessible by all.
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