In celebration of Race Equality Week, we want to recognise and celebrate the entrepreneurialism of our Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) founders in our RGU community. Over the past few years, our programmes have supported aspiring entrepreneurs to develop ideas, collaborate with others and launch new businesses. In 2020, our Startup Accelerator had 45% of participants who were international and 52% of teams included an international founder with a quarter of participants being BIPOC. Our ambition is to reduce barriers to innovation and support diverse, creative communities to explore their ideas. We spoke to Aishat and David, who were on this year’s programme about their experiences.
Who are you and what is your business?
Our names are Aishat Adebusuyi and David Rafiq, co-founders of AutiPAL, a more than profit organisation for families affected by autism offering professional and peer support, a safe community and friendship through an online platform. We are a family startup from Nigeria and work and study at RGU – Aishat works in the student recruitment team, while David is a MSc Project Management student.
What sparked the idea for your business and how has RGU helped?
We had personal experience of the problem and challenges faced by families with autistic children. From this experience we saw there was not widely accessible support for families and felt this could be an area that could be expanded upon. We decided to apply to the RGU Startup Accelerator and successfully got a place on Cohort 2. The experience for us was eye-opening, informative, fun and totally worthwhile. We’ve gone from just an idea to now being able to finalise our website which will be offered free to subscribers giving access to resources, professional support, live sessions and peer support in real time.
What do events like Black History Month mean to you?
Black History month is a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora and most importantly a celebration of past and current achievements of Black people. As Black entrepreneurs now, if I was to speak to my younger self, I’d want to tell them “If you want to be successful and impact lives, develop an entrepreneurial mindset…..even if you are an employee”.
What is your ambition for your business?
Autism is a complex condition with a very wide spectrum therefore every affected person is different. Our plan for the nearest future is to develop a mobile app with access to all the above mentioned plus extra features including games and activities therapy, live sessions with mental health professionals, support packages and progress tracking. The mobile app will adapt Artificial Intelligence in future developments with bots designed to learn from user interaction and activities thereby curating solutions that work for them.
Ibrahim was also part of this year’s cohort with his business Foxshyre Analytics (previously known as Drop Digital Solutions). Ibrahim is from Nigeria and is a graduate from Aberdeen Business School. Their business seeks to use artificial intelligence to detect corrosion in the oil and gas industry.
[Video clip of Ibrahim] https://youtu.be/EjYOP2LW-CQ?t=33
You can find out more about the programmes, events and resources offered by the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group by going to www.rgu.ac.uk/innovation or following @RGUInnovation on Instagram