One of the outcomes of Covid-19 has been the increased need for financial knowledge, wealth building and scaling businesses, so they generate more revenue and solidify their profitability.
There are many Black UK-based entrepreneurs who have been successful long before Covid, and have been able to pivot and thrive during these difficult times. This fortitude comes from implementing sound business practices, having access to mentors and developing a growth mindset.
Nene from VINE Creatives and I have worked with many entrepreneurs and have found that it’s one thing to want to grow and expand a business, it’s quite another to seek out the knowledge of how to actually do it. Acquiring the knowledge needed to increase sales, market share, or secure investment capital, requires both strategic thought and operational know-how.
Meeting of Minds and VINE Creatives would like to simplify the process for budding and established black owned/led companies, with the right tools and resources that entrepreneurs need to succeed. One of these tools is first-hand accounts from successful Black entrepreneurs.
The idea for this project was conceived pre-Covid, involving a face2face interview, hosted in a venue of your choice. We wanted to film a behind-the-scenes ‘day-in-the life’ documentary, but the pandemic thwarted our plans!
Instead, for Black History Month, we want to discover the books and podcasts that have left an indelible mark on you (preferably from a Black author/host), that has positively contributed to your mindset and subsequent success.
Interview with Shelly-Ann Gajadhar (Pg.Dip., L.L.B., L.E.C., MSc., MPhil.) – Alphastute Limited
Q1. Please share a literary work and/or podcast that has been instrumental to shaping your thinking as an entrepreneur?
A1. Eternal Sunshine Volume 1 by Londrelle both his book and his app have been instrumental in strengthening my entrepreneurial mindset and sharpening my intention to live a life of service via my business Alphastute.
Q2. If success is the habit of learning from failures, what has been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt?
A2. Do your best and let God do the rest. Doing my best means laying a brick everyday so that I can one day have a wall, Nipsey Hussle’s words.
Q3. If there is one business practice that you wish you’d applied sooner, what would it be?
A3. Using the spoken word to position my business in spaces and places that are high growth and high impact. When I first started my business, I was shy to talk about it at senior meetings or with my industry links. Now, I openly and proudly mention my business every chance I get. Why? Because I’ve learnt that it is by no coincidence that I have a seat at the table and these links. Use your position strategically!
Q4. What is the biggest misconception people have about your business or line of work?
A4. That we only work with women. We work with an array of clients from all walks of life and professions. But here’s the catch, we only work with clients that are ready to take their life to the next level or are serious about their personal or professional growth. Our business is steeped in excellence so, we work with clients that seek excellence.
Q5. RESOLVE. RESILIENCE. RESISTANCE. What do these words mean to you, and how do you want your contribution to the world of business to be remembered?
A5. Resolve – The determination to continuously rise above society’s limited expectation of the black woman. Resilience – to know that my failures are not a reflection of my worth but, a reflection of life’s circumstances. Never victimise yourself. You are worthy. Resistance – To go bravely in the midst of fearmongering. A life of lack is not my narrative. I’d like Alphastute’s contribution to the world of business to be remembered for its bravery to help clients do the things they were too afraid to do. That our impactful work of leveraging human capital inspires another to go bravely and that our clients’ success remains our legacy and business footprint.
“Go Bravely!” It’s my life mantra and encapsulates a lot of what my bio entails. I am a Caribbean woman born and bred in the twin island of Trinidad and Tobago with a professional background in law as a criminal prosecutor. Having left the profession for something more, I am now the CEO and Founder of a Career and Education Consultancy, Alphastute Limited, launched in 2018 and has served 1000+ clients to date. I have a love for academia and research which has led me to teach and tutor, and I recently completed my PhD at at King’s College London, specialising in Public Services Management. I am also one of the faces of Diversity and Inclusion at the King’s Business School. In March 2020, it was announced by world ranked Russell Group University, the University of Edinburgh that I was one of the Top 100 alumni in their 100 years of business for my impactful work with Alphastute in the Caribbean region. I sit alongside honourees who lead in global companies such as BBC, Tesla, Fifa, Uber etc. In my spare time, I mentor Caribbean nationals pro bono, and I am currently using my company to assist people on a pro bono basis with managing the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on their businesses and professional lives.