From translators to refugees hoping to pursue their careers, these following individuals have truly managed to make a name for themselves:
#1. Aisha Mohamed Ahmed
The first on our list is Aisha Mohamed Ahmed, who migrated from the Netherlands to Somalia three years ago with the dream to start her own business.
While residing in the Netherlands, she worked as a translator for Somalis– speaking multiple languages such as Somali, English, Dutch and German. Aisha also worked in Administration and Finance for a small company where she developed an interest in business. She participated in entrepreneurship conferences in London and took several business courses online.
In 2014, Aisha started her own foundation known as the Tea Garden, which provides youths in the diaspora with food and beverages. Her company also specializes in event planning management as they offer youths and professionals in the diaspora an opportunity to network.
#2. Sofia Hersi
With the help of her friend Istar Mohamed, Sofia Hersi managed to pool their savings to launch their own business named Modern Closet, in Minneapolis. Their main objective was to provide for women who had an interest in traditional and cultural stylish clothing.
“Modern Closet is here to fill that void,” Sofia said. “We want to be fashionable, we want to represent our culture and we want to show our identity as Somali Muslim women — but also, we want to look good.”
Sofia moved to the United States alone from a Kenyan refugee camp about ten years ago. Upon arriving in the big city, she had to learn how to survive without her family. She moved to the U.S with the sole aim of making something of herself and assisting her family financially.
A decade later, she acquired a degree in human resource management from the Metropolitan State University.
#3. Ahmed Abdi
Abdi had an opportunity to work as an office messenger for an insurance agent in Nairobi which changed his life. He registered for the Kenya Certificate Secondary Education exams while working full time as a messenger. After years of hard work and dedication, Ahmed rose through the ranks and ended up as a General Manager at the insurance agency.
With the support of his partner, he registered Al Amana Insurance Agency (now Amana Insurance Brokers). Since then, the company has continued to flourish. “Even the sky is not the limit. Today, I have employed six employees from scratch but that is not my satisfaction. I still want to grow [my business].” Ahmed said.
#4. Hashi Kaar
Hashi Kaar is a refugee from war-torn Somalia who has an inspirational but sad story. Upon moving to Australia when he was 17 without a proper education, nor an understanding of what the internet was, five years later, he was in his third year of university and got a job as a junior application developer at a pharmaceutical valuation company, named Medici Capital.
He is now the founder of three tech companies employing 15 people.
#5. Mubarak Mohamud
Mubarak Mohamud, son of a Somali diplomat grew up in Camden Town and was just 13 when he decided to become a “socially minded” entrepreneur.
By the time he turned 17, Mohamud had gained a lot of expertise and local popularity within the street of Camden Lock where he controlled the lucrative cannabis street trade making up to £1,000 per week.
He was caught by the police on several occasions whilst he was trying to supply drugs just to earn a living.
His mother encouraged him to turn his life around and try to do something more productive in the tourism sector since he knew a lot by spending his early years selling drugs to tourist. Muhamud later pursued higher education and acquired a degree in theatre studies at the University of East London. Shortly after that, he decided to launch his foundation known as Clime-it Brothers taking £800 from his student loan.
“I see young people and the polar bear as similar in that they both have to adapt to a new environment in order to survive,” he explained. “That’s why I called it Clime-it Brothers, merging a social message of upward mobility with environmental awareness of climate change.”