Meet our Pitch Day Winner, Shani!
Age is but a number when it comes to talent, creativity and success and it’s never too early to use these skills to run a business! In our Young Entrepreneur Series, we catch up with former Hatch alumni, who thanks to their resilient motivation and strong support systems are setting up enterprises of their own.
Shani participated in our 10th Incubator programme, which concluded with a pitch day. She had the opportunity to present her business to an expert panel of Dragons. She successfully pitched her business ‘Bankra’, an online platform dedicated to inspiring black millennials to connect with their homelands through travel information and storytelling, and won! Shani is now using her expertise to build her business and we can’t wait to see the progress she’ll make!
What inspired you to start this entrepreneurial journey?
On a recent holiday to Jamaica, I visited places outside of the conventional tourist spots such as Accompong – Jamaica’s runaway slave community. I immersed myself in Jamaican history, culture and literature and I felt more connected. After sharing my experience with friends and people in my network and doing market research, I realised that as much as the UK is home for us as 2nd and 3rd generation Black-British Africans and Caribbeans, many of us also want to connect with our homes in Africa and the Caribbean. I’ve always been passionate about how second and third generation Black-Britons living diaspora connect with their roots and Bankra was a perfect way to build upon this.
How did the Hatch & BLP Incubator programme help your business?
It was amazing to be a part of a community of young entrepreneurs like myself who are chasing their dreams. The sessions on vision, goal-setting, pitching, public speaking, funding and sales were particularly valuable.
What have been real ‘light bulb’ moments for you during your business journey?
Winning pitch day despite Bankra just being a business idea. It gave me the validation that this is a good idea. I’m passionate about it, I can do it so I just need to press ahead with it and make it happen!
Have you experienced any specific challenges associated with being a ‘young entrepreneur’?
Going against the status quo, for example, going into the corporate world. Lots of my friends from university are bankers, lawyers and management consultants. Entrepreneurship is a very insecure road in comparison. But it’s important to remember why you started and keep focused on your dreams and your goals. It’s not easy, but you have to keep going and trust yourself.
What’s your focus with Bankra now?
Our focus now is on building the website for our launch in a few months time, sourcing contributors to write for the website, putting together a social media marketing plan and building partnerships with different stakeholders in Africa and the Caribbean.
Where can readers find out more about Bankra?
We are still building our website but when it is ready, bankra.co
How do you intend to use the £300 prize from pitch day?
Towards website development, business cards and social media management subscriptions!
Have a business idea you’d like to test or an existing business you’d like to grow? Book a call today with our Programme Manager to find out which programme is right for you!