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Entrepreneurial lessons breathe new life into school

Futuremakers Veronica

18 Dec 2023

Home > News > About Standard Chartered > Community investment > Entrepreneurial lessons breathe new life into school
A Futuremakers entrepreneurship programme has helped Veronica to better manage her social impact business, a school for children with disabilities.

Entrepreneurial lessons breathe new life into school

Veronica has found a more effective way of growing her social business in Nigeria after joining a Futuremakers entrepreneurship programme that helped her turn around and start afresh.

The 29-year-old entrepreneur lost her hearing following two separate accidents and was shocked at the barriers faced by people with disabilities in her community. Now living with a disability and holding a degree in education, Veronica was determined to solve the problem and started a school and foundation in 2018 with support from her family.

Providing education to over 50 children with and without disabilities, Veronica struggled to manage various challenges in operating the school. Employees disregarded her because of her disability and wouldn’t follow her instructions or respect the school’s code of conduct and policies. She also found it challenging to collect tuition fees from parents and make her organisation stand out from its competitors.

Training helps to revitalise the business

The turning point came when Veronica enrolled in the Aspiring Entrepreneurs Programme for Persons with Disabilities delivered by FATE Foundation with support from Youth Business International (YBI) as part of Futuremakers by Standard Chartered.

Funded by Standard Chartered Foundation, the programme’s eight weeks of training gave Veronica the knowledge, resources and exposure she needed to identify the causes of her business challenges, redefine her business model, and restart the school with better clarity of the market and who she could serve.

Veronica explained: “By applying all I have learnt in the programme, I started my school afresh, redefined my market and identified a niche to focus on.”

The Karisma Inclusive School and Karisma Abilities Foundation now provide inclusive education for children with disabilities. Although aimed specifically at children who are deaf, they also welcome those with autism, dyslexia, and intellectual disabilities.

A positive impact on life, family and community

Since the business refresh, Veronica’s expertise, improved management and support have made her school the place to come for children with disabilities and their parents. In addition, Veronica offers consultation services to parents, advocates for the rights of women and people with disabilities and conducts outreach programmes to provide relief materials for women and their children in underserved communities.

Although Veronica has fewer students (10 compared to 50 at the previous school), she reports an increased number of parents who respond promptly to her increased confidence in collecting tuition fees and following up on slow payers.

She said: “I didn’t get up to this number of financially responsive parents at the early stage. I believe I will get better results if I continue at this pace.”

Veronica’s new skills have positively affected the community as she employs four staff – two teachers, one admin and one cleaner. Moreover, by running an inclusive school and doing it more efficiently, she can now contribute to her family and is proud to say she is self-employed.

In recognition of Veronica’s inclusive work, she was selected as one of the entrepreneurs for the ILO-sponsored International Young Leaders Campus on Entrepreneurship. She said: “It was an exciting experience for me meeting other youth leaders from across the globe in China, learning about different practical and innovative ways in which young people can work together for sustainable development.”

About Futuremakers

Futuremakers by Standard Chartered is our global initiative to tackle inequality by promoting greater economic inclusion in our markets. Futuremakers supports disadvantaged young people aged 35 or below, especially girls and people with visual impairments, to learn new skills and improve their chances of getting a job or starting their own business.

Focussing on three pillars – Education, Employability and Entrepreneurship – Futuremakers aims to help the next generation learn, earn and grow.