Imani joined BSEEN in April 2017 and is the founder of Imani Academy, providing female empowerment programmes across the West Midlands.
Imani, tell us about yourself…
“A lot of my time has been spent mentoring young people. I’ve worked in primary, secondary education and latterly children services. A lot of the young women I have mentored have had various personal, social and emotional issues that affected their self-esteem and self-worth. As a woman, myself I feel a sense of responsibility to empower the generation after me and support them to have the skills to deal with life’s challenges in a healthy way. Whilst volunteering in Togo, Wet Africa 3 years ago, one thing in particular stuck with me. The strength of the community, women in the community. Despite some of the gender based issues they were dealing with, they were doing so much for the community and particularly the girls and young women around them. They were amazing role models; inspiring, uplifting and empowering a generation of girls and young women daily. I was inspired by them to do more in my own community in Birmingham. Since my return I have been working on my business and my own personal and professional development.”
Tell us more about Imani Academy…
“We deliver a bespoke female empowerment programme combined with character education. Imani Academy’s, I Am Phenomenal 365 programme is for young women, 12-18 years old and 18-30 years old. Through our mentoring and workshops we aim to inspire, uplift and empower young women. Reminding them that despite some of life’s challenges, you are phenomenal 365 days of the year.”
What made you jump at the chance of coming on BSEEN?
“Applying for BSEEN seemed like a great opportunity for me to network and seek advice from professionals during the boot camp. Also having access to office space and a grant was an added bonus. ”
What has been the biggest learning curve you have had to overcome as an Entrepreneur?
“Understanding all of your potential customers needs is important. I’m very used to working B2C (business to customer), BSEEN has provided me with the skills to approach B2B (business to business) effectively. Focusing more on B2B has allowed me to collaborate and work with with other small businesses and gain recognition from international organisations. “
What has been your business stand out moment?
“Whilst on BSEEN I have secured contracted work to deliver I Am Phenomenal 365 workshops with young women in local authority care. I feel the skills gained from the BSEEN bootcamp, contributed to me being able to achieve this.”
Any advice for entrepreneurial students or graduates thinking about starting their own business?
“As someone who graduated in 2014 and is now about to start a distance learning MA. I would say go for it! Enjoy the journey, be realistic with your goals and manage your time! Don’t be afraid to share your business idea with people, you never know how they could support you or connect you to the right people.”
What are your next steps for your business?
“Now, my plan is to deliver Imani Academy’s I Am phenomenal 365 workshops in Schools, Colleges, Children Services, Youth Offending Services with 12-18 year olds. I would also like to deliver I Am Phenomenal 365 events for 18-30-year olds, whilst collaborating with other female entrepreneurs who focus on women’s health and wellbeing. Long term I would like to be able to work on a global scale with other organisations focusing on women’s empowerment. ”
The Imani Academy will be holding an open evening on Monday 23rd October to explore personal, social and emotional development in a creative way.
Find out more information here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/imani-academy-open-evening-tickets-35900595648