Michael and Fiona
SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS TALENT – SUCCESS STORY
At Murrison & Wilson we’re privileged to work with so many successful business owners and keen to showcase our clients’ talents. We would like to welcome Micheal and Pheona Matovu Directors of Radiant and Brighter Community Interest Company and winners of the CEMVO Employment Impact Award 2014 to share real experiences and tips to help business owners build up a successful business.
To keep up with Michael & Fiona visit www.radiantandbrighter.com or Twitter: @RadiantBrighter, FaceBook: Radiant and Brighter.
Q: What does your business do?
A: We provide training and support for Minority Ethnic communities and disadvantaged communities to develop and use their already existing skills, qualifications and talents for a brighter future. Through group work, training and person centred support, clients are empowered to engage with available opportunities for employment, upskilling and entrepreneurship.
We also provide bespoke tailor made training to organisations/companies on community engagement, cross-culture communication, equality and diversity, leadership and project development.
Q: How did you get started running Radiant and Brighter Community Interest Company?
A: It was out of our personal experience. We were not allowed to work for 5 years during which period we were unable to get support from any organisation, due to immigration controls.
During this period we initiated a project which supported immigrants to integrate in the community and through this we discovered that many in our communities struggled with issues that main stream organisations did not address.
In 2012 we were finally granted permission to work but couldn’t find employment due to the 5 year unemployment gap. So we decided to set up Radiant and Brighter to support other people in similar situations to ours.
” Business success = positive impact + positive change + degree of inspiration to reach higher among those engaged with.” Michael Matovu, Radiant & Brighter
Q: What’s your background
A: Pheona graduated in community development at Glasgow University and I have been an entrepreneur from the age of 15 before I came to this country running retail businesses in electricals and textiles.
Q: What was the biggest hurdle you faced starting up?
A: The biggest hurdle was finance and not being able to take a wage for 3 years. When we started, we had no money at all and had just come out of unemployment. We tried to apply for funding but those that seemed like obvious funders declined our applications. This was especially hard because we had very good outcomes, a proven track record and had become reputable, but organisations were not keen to support us financially. We had to remain focused and determined to keep on keeping on while at the same time making sure the company stays afloat.
Q: How did you chose where to locate?
A: We always wanted to operate around the city centre because our clients come from all parts of Glasgow and many of them, being unemployed have to walk long distances. As such, the Adelphi Centre appealed to us because not only was it located close to the city, but also some of the organisations to which we wanted to refer our clients (which also referred clients to us) were in the same building.
Q: What is your top tip for anyone starting up a new business?
A: Starting a business is never a walk in the park, you must have DETERMINATION to pursue what you want to do irrespective of what comes your way. Armed with determination, ensure you find some great mentors and network as much as you can.
We are thankful for our mentors who give us so much of their time, support and encouragement. And we are glad our friend and accountant, Simon Murrison is still is our mentor.
Q: Where do you plan your business to be in five years’ time?
A: We hope to have an employment and enterprise hub to promote and support diversity of skill and talent within minority ethnic communities and disadvantaged groups for Brighter futures.
Q: What has been your best day, so far, in business and why?
A: My best day is when our clients come and tell us that they have been granted Refugee status, have joined a college, or have got a job.
Most of our clients don’t have the confidence to speak or even make friends so we endeavour to create an environment where they can all learn together and share good news to encourage each other. This enables others that might be struggling with the same issue to have the hope that things will change for the better.
Q: How do new clients find you and you find new clients?
A: Our clients find us through word of mouth. We also get referrals from several agencies around the city including the Job Centre, Skills Development Scotland, The Refugee Council, The British Red Cross and Jobs and Business Glasgow.
Q: How do you kick start your working day?
A: I start my working day in PRAYER because out of our own strength we could never be able to do this, but through Christ we can do all things.
Q: Why do you do think your clients keep coming back to you instead of the competition?
A:Our clients keep coming to us because they relate with us and we understand the challenges. They also trust us because they consider us to be part of their community. Our clients also tell us that our services are second to none because we allow them to ask questions, address the relevant issues and take into consideration their needs. Most of our competitors provide generic services which the communities often can’t relate to.
Q: What is your favourite part of your working week?
A: Our favourite part of my working week is when our clients start expressing themselves and realising that they can achieve their goals or dreams.
Q: If you could travel back in time, to when you started up, is there anything you would do differently?
A: We don’t think if we travelled back in time we would do anything differently because our experience has taught us so much and we use every bit of it to support others in a similar situations. The experience is priceless!