While she was at UCL, events were attended by around 200 people. “As a student organisation we were expected to be a not-for-profit but we needed money for events. We fundraised through diversity consulting across the UK, advising corporate firms on their graduate recruitment marketing,” she says. This work has enabled the growth of WCAN which now works with universities all over the UK and runs 15-20 events every year.
On top of her full-time job in investment banking and her role as a director of WCAN, Mariam has also been working on an app to help ethnic minority businesses sell and deliver ingredients that you don’t always find in the supermarket. “It’s so much more than the Sainsbury’s international aisle,” she says. “There’s a demand for many more ingredients and Oja will help this.” The name of the app, Oja, means marketplace in Yoruba.
Oja uses technology to solve a problem; Mariam wanted the same from her bank. “I was really tired of banking with a high street bank - my old business account gave me stress every single day,” she says.
A Starling for Business account was her solution. “I’m able to do everything so simply. I like that you can monitor your spending, see the merchants you’ve interacted with and add more than one bank account for each payee,” she says.
Being a fully licensed bank, covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme was important for her when choosing a new bank for WCAN. “I use Goals for budgeting and have a bucket for this and that so we can work out how much we should be spending on different things that year,” she says. “It’s everything I need.”
To find out more about WCAN, have a look at www.wcan.co.uk or find out about upcoming events through Twitter or Facebook.