Interview with Mavis Amankwah
According to the Federation of Small business, there were 5.6 million small businesses in the UK at the start of 2018. Small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2018 and 99.9% were small or medium-sized (SMEs). Total employment in SMEs was 16.3 million; 60% of all private sector employment in the UK. The combined annual turnover of SMEs was £2.0 trillion, 52% of all private sector turnover. The reality of running your own business is a different story for each business owner. Out of 10 entrepreneurs, only 2 will make it to the second anniversary of their business. A high percentage of the businesses which will not survive past the first 18 months are those business owners of an ethnic minority (Bloomberg).
We reached out to business experts who are delivering change which supports smaller businesses to grow and succeed, as part of “ How to grow your Business”
In this issue we invited Mavis Amankwah (founder of Rich Visions Small Business) who supported over 700 companies and secured over £7M of finance, to share her unique solution to prosperity.
With over 17 years’ experience in the Communications and professional services industry, Mavis is one of the UK’s foremost Diversity Ambassadors, a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, public speaker, mentor and entrepreneurial coach. Featured in over 250 media titles and named as one of the most influential people in PR (2009-2015), Mavis is sharing her story with a grateful heart for all that had happened for her to be the extraordinary woman she is today!
“I have dedicated my career to making a positive impact in the business world by bridging the gap between communities, whilst, conversely, transforming social disparities into profitable and sustainable business models. It’s fair to say that I have somewhat obliterated my teachers’ limited expectations of becoming someone who ‘would not amount to much’. However, in my early life in the 1970s, being a young dark-skinned black girl born in the then notoriously racist area of Canning Town, East London, to African parents led me to being regularly taunted and bullied. As the eldest of three, I am a natural born leader, but as strong willed as I am, I have been a victim of serial abuses and traumatic, life threatening events in which I have had to overcome.”
What inspired you to create your business or organization?
I did not always know that I would be involved in business but I knew from early on in my career that I had a deep desire to help my community. However, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and after noticing a gap that major companies and organisation were unable to reach Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, I pursued my passion and established Rich Visions Diversity as a solution to this problem. The risk paid off and I successfully created award-winning corporate communications campaigns for leading organisations such as HMRC and Comic Relief. Then I start working with notable brands such as Asda, HSBC and NatWest. However, due to the recession and having lost all my contracts, I ended up establishing Rich Visions Small Business to ensure that doors are opened for entrepreneurs from ethnic minority backgrounds to access expert business advice, support and finance.
I focus in helping and supporting the entrepreneurial community locally, nationally and internationally to realise their highest potential.
Who are the people who could benefit from your solutions?
My solutions are designed to serve small business owners, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) entrepreneurs who need access to high-level business information, business loans, advice, mentoring and coaching to make their business more sustainable.
What are the challenges to make the public aware of your work?
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance and constantly working on my brand via social media to stay as relevant as possible, is never easy! It become difficult not to work during the holidays when you’re passionate about what you do. Many times, I have worked non-stop for 7 days a week. However, by doing that it caused me to get overwhelmed and burnt out. Therefore, I have had to take measures to ensure I can efficiently balance my social and work life better. It’s very important to have supportive family members to remind you to switch off when necessary. To add, staying relevant and on top of my game can prove challenging with the rapid changes in technology and the social media world. It requires effort and consistency to publicise interesting posts that will engage my target audience and convert into sales. It is important to make every effort to work on your personal and business brand consistently to be able to achieve fruitful results.
Where do you turn for inspiration and why?
The Dragon’s Den is a very inspirational tv show and I love the pitches made in front of a panel the successful business people: Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, Jenny Campbell, Tej Lalvani and Touker Suleyman. Every time I watch the Dragon’s Den, I feel more motivated to accomplish my dreams and invest in other businesses, so that they can grow as well. It is encouraging to know that the majority of the Dragons have experienced a humble beginning in business. They are individuals who have not let their circumstances deter them away from their purpose and I find it very easy to relate with them.
I have a strong admiration for Peter Jones and what he has achieved both on and off the Dragon’s Den. After reading his biography, I have realised how similar his entrepreneurial journey has been to mine. He has been able to overcome very difficult challenges in business which not many entrepreneurs recover from. His legacy and contribution towards society and the economy has confirmed my belief that the sky is not the limit!
Do you have a solution for Business growth? Connect with us now!
The first ten Sovereign Magazine’s readers who email Mavis will receive a free Business Health check