Entrepreneur of the Month: Namiwa Jazz

Namiwa Jazz is an artist, songwriter and composer, and also the founder of the Namiwa Change Formation.

Namiwa, tell us about yourself…

“My name is Namiwa Jazz. I am 24 years old and the founder of the Namiwa Change Formation.

I am an artist, songwriter and composer currently living in Birmingham. I perform with my band touring and gigging around the UK and Europe, performing original material in my genre of music which is called Afrotwang. Since graduating from Birmingham School of Acting in 2015, I have been gigging and working in the creative arts industries in a host of different roles as a freelance practitioner. Before I founded the Namiwa Change Formation in 2017 I was working directly under the Head of Learning and Participation at Punch Records. Previous to that, I was freelancing on festivals such as the Lichfield Festival and working with companies like the Women and Theatre across Birmingham, who work directly with individuals from hard-to-reach backgrounds, women at risk and young people who are currently not in education or employment. ”

Tell us more about the Namiwa Change Formation…

“Namiwa Change Formation (NCF) is an ever-evolving and diverse network of radical, subversive and free-thinking individuals. NCF works mainly with women and girls from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups offering  personal and community centred approach to making new work. We are a springboard for alternative representations of self and a catalyst for creativity.

We are currently receiving support through the NatWest Business Accelerator programme, who are supporting us in the development of our Winter 2018/19 projects. We will be making some exciting announcements coming up later this year! All our projects work with our community holistically, educating and informing them about the importance and value of health, the environment and the arts. As a company we are inspired by the abundance of BAME artistic excellence emerging from the underground/ DIY scene in Birmingham.

We are currently recruiting for NCF Community Board Members – the extended deadline is Monday 27th August: Applications are live here:https://form.jotformeu.com/NamiwaChange/ncf-community-board-application-for

Find out more on our website: www.namiwachangeformation.co.uk or connect with us online at @ncf_brum”

What made you jump at the chance of coming on BSEEN?

“I wanted to take my ideas and experience to the next level and turn it into a business. ”

What do you think you have learnt the most from your BSEEN journey?

“Self-motivation and perseverance. Initially, I knew that I would be working autonomously on my own business venture but I underestimated the amount of perseverance needed to take on a brand new adventure almost by yourself. There were a few times where I struggled and felt as if it would have been an easier option to go into arts administration work and do the same work just for somebody else or another initiative. I know that my perseverance is not only going to empower myself and my company but through the work, we will be changing the lives of women and girls from disadvantaged community groups for the better. We aim to achieve this through artistic enrichment, which to me is more than enough reason. During the year I was pushed even more to find my own ‘why’.

Time management was a big one! I definitely learnt about management of my time and had to really question why I wanted meetings or even why people wanted them with me. Balancing NCF with my music diary was a challenge but everything worked out for the best. It was about finding a balance and placing value on your time and other people’s – that way you manage to make the most out of a half an hour or 1 hour short meeting. 

What has been your business stand out moment since being on BSEEN?

“After completing my year on the BSEEN program I was accepted onto another 6-18 month Business Accelerator programme with NatWest Business and have been supported and motivated to continue the developments of the Namiwa Change Formation and make steady progress.”

Any advice for entrepreneurial students or graduates thinking about starting their own business?

“One thing I’ve always said and stuck by is to never blindly accept advice, but to take proper guidance on board. I think that as the entrepreneur you know what’s best for you and for your company because it’s your idea and your beliefs driving the mission. Follow your gut and pay attention to what & who is around you. Take in as much guidance and as much inspiration from the people who become your mentors, those in your field, the people who you work with and most importantly, if your initiative has a social impact stamp or social community at the centre of it, then listen and go with the heart of your community.”

What are your next steps for your business?

“I’m currently building a board of governance for the Namiwa Change Formation. The board is going to have strong representation from BAME female entrepreneurs, creatives, strategists and gatekeepers that will guide and nurture our work over the next three years. In addition to having a board of governance, I am developing a community steering group that will be built purely on a shared values basis. This which will inform and inspire some of NCF’s ways of working with the community across a programme of work from 2019 and beyond. ”

 

You can also find out more information about the Namiwa Change Formation by heading to their Facebook page, Instagram page or Website

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