Inspired by my attendance at the ‘change-makers’ summer school at the beginning of my third year, I founded my business, Ethnical Fostering, with an UnLtd grant obtained with support from the Enterprise and Innovation (EI) team. We specialize in raising awareness and recruiting potential foster carers from ethnic minority backgrounds. Through my business, I am hoping to achieve social change and help encourage more people to foster children; inspired by the children my own family has fostered over the years.
Without the financial support, guidance and mentorship offered to me by the University I would not have been able to start Ethnical Fostering – and 40 children would potentially still be in the care system. Additionally, the founding of my own business was perhaps the key component of my acceptance onto a graduate scheme. The EI team also assigned me an experienced mentor who helped me to work through the myriad of legal and financial issues associated with the founding of a business, in an efficient and effective way.
As we are an extremely niche organisation, we currently have no competition – but we could face potential competition from private foster agencies who wish to move their ethnic minority recruitment ‘in-house’. However; we have chosen to partner with and create effective working relationships with as many of these agencies as we can, which has worked well so far.
Three key skills
I would say that the three key skills I took away from my University course are:
- The ability to problem-solve
- The ability to think in an innovative, entrepreneurial manner
Involvement with EI and other services offered by the University is an excellent opportunity, which is not readily available in the world outside of university. I wholeheartedly encourage you to take it and maximise the potential learning opportunities from the experienced individuals you have available.
EI has helped to develop my entrepreneurial skills and thinking, which not only assisted me in obtaining a position on a graduate scheme, but has continuously helped me to stand out from my work colleagues through the application of innovative, entrepreneurial thinking, which was initially sparked through the ‘change-makers’ programme.
Yusuf is currently on a project management graduate scheme with BAE Systems. He hopes to continue to accrue project management skills and experience with the end vision of running his own company full-time, and expanding his business with growth into a second city.