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Start-up 54: BA (Hons) Journalism graduate helping to run social enterprise for young BAME entrepreneurs

Written by
Dayna McAlpine
Published date
22 May 2018

BA (Hons) Journalism graduate Letitiah Obiri, press manager for Foundervine, helps bring together ambitious change-makers, young professionals and aspiring social entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds to form teams, build prototypes and launch new business ventures.

Hosted by FoundervineStart-up 54 allows participants to select ideas with the most promise and make as much progress on the business as possible over the course of only 54 hours.

We caught up with Letitiah to find out more about the event and her time at LCC…

Can you tell us a little bit more about Foundervine and the work it does?

We help talented, young founders grow through inspirational programmes, mentoring, events and an active community. At the very core of what we do is a commitment to ensuring that regardless of background, every young person has the opportunity to build the skills, experiences and aspirations needed to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.

What is your role at Foundervine?

My role at Foundervine is Press Manager, I am responsible for reaching out to journalists, bloggers and influencers in the youth enterprise and start-up sector to promote the organisation, explore partnership opportunities and recruit more members to the Foundervine community of young entrepreneurs.

Why is the work that Foundervine does important?

There is a real lack of diversity and inclusion at some of the UK’s biggest corporates and we are seeking to create a pipeline for employers to increase representation in their workplaces. Without representation from women, minorities and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, young people will continue to have the odds stacked against them and we are looking to address the issue at the root.

What have you been up to since graduating LCC? How did you get to where you are now?

Since graduating from my Journalism degree at LCC I have embarked on an exciting career in digital marketing with a particular focus on tech start-ups and small businesses founded by women or people of colour. My career began in public relations not long after graduating, I completed an internship with a small agency in Milton Keynes. This led to a junior marketing assistant role at a web design agency in London which gave me the experience to work at a string of leading digital agencies including Brooklyn Brothers and Havas. After almost seven years working agency side for several large clients, I decided to go solo and launch my own online marketing consultancy specialising in affordable marketing services to start-ups.

What was the most important lesson you took from your time at LCC?

I gained a new found confidence and key skills gained through networking and social events that have held me in good stead as an active member of the London start-up community.

How do you feel your course has prepared you for the work you’re doing now?

My course taught me to think critically about the media and how it is consumed, I learnt the importance of crafting a good news story and writing emotively to connect with readers or customers. I gained a unique insight into how digital was transforming online journalism and the rise of content marketing which combined both journalism and marketing into one discipline.

What advice would you give to students at LCC who’re thinking about breaking into the working world as entrepreneurs?

My advice would be to gain as much hands-on work experience as possible in the field you would like to work in. It is important to lay the groundwork when launching your own business by developing key skills like teamwork and leadership in the office that will prepare you for business. You will also have time to build your experience, gain work accreditations and make key connections that are likely to come in handy when you launch and are in need of clients.

Start-up 54 is held Fri, 25 May – Sun, 27 May 2018 at Ernst & Young LLP. Foundervine are now offering special discount codes to be applied on their Eventbrite link – students can use promotional code SU54 to get 20% off ticket prices.