Redefining stereotypes by showcasing positive Black and Ethnic Minorities contributions, and empowering and inspiring the next generation.
EDITION THREE – 2019
I am…Sudanese. My country is in Africa, but I am not considered an African. My mother tongue is Arabic, but I’m not considered an Arab…..
Who are you?
I am Sudanese. My country is in Africa, but I am not considered an African. My mother tongue is Arabic, but I’m not considered an Arab. I am also a young British adult, female BAME. I, for one am diverse and tick most the boxes. Yet, I never tagged myself as any of the above. I consider myself as open and inclusive human being. I am Riham.
What is your present role?
CEO and Co-Founder of MeVitae, a augmented intelligent solution aimed at solving the biggest human capital challenges including shortlisting top diverse talent. My role involves doing everything I can to fulfil our company vision of unleashing human potential and close the tech skill gap to accelerate innovation.
Tell us about your life journey so far. What has brought you to your current role?
My childhood and upbringing has everything to do with who I am. In fact, I went to one of the most under achieving community schools in Westminster (shut in 2006). I never grew up with mentors and hardly knew the importance of them, and was bullied in school. However, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by friends and family to inspire me in the direction of success and fulfilment.
Fast forwarding a decade, my educational background is that of a scientist and engineer. I studied MEng Biomedical Engineering (1st Class) at Imperial College London and postgraduate degree in Clinical Neuroscience at Oxford University. My research involved collaborating alongside renowned computational neuroscientists to map the structural and functional relationship of the brain. My thesis is now at the prestigious Bodleian Library.
I had my life set; I was going into academia, contributing to science– study for a PhD and then become a Neuroscience Professor. I was determined nothing would change it, until I opened my mouth with an idea. The idea of MeVitae came from a conversation I had with my now Co-Founder and CTO, Vivek Doraiswamy, where we ended up building the leading CV app to get Vivek a job at Microsoft. The app received >50k downloads in a few weeks increasing 60-70 a day, usage of 30 minutes per user per day and ranked the top Windows Store App without any marketing. Shortly after I started researching the human resource (HR) market and came to the conclusion that it was fragmented beyond belief and that was the start of MeVitae in 2014.
I have had to learn the ropes of the business world and learn from my mistakes. I am now a TEDx speaker, multi-award winning business leader, and entrepeneur. Recognised by Forbes as ‘Female Founder Taking the UK by Storm’.
In your field of work, what has been your observation and/or experience of white privilege, discrimination and prejudices?
Only 0.2% of black women founders have raised investment. Of those that have raised money, the average amount of funding its $36,000. The odds are stacked up against us. That is one of the many challenges female entrepreneurs are faced with. Hence the need for change as great ideas can come from anyone and anyone can reach their full potential, irrespective of age, gender, sexuality, religion etc.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were younger?
I was always worried about failing and I wasn’t much of a risk taker. I wish I knew that Fail=First Attempt In Learning. I should have surrounded myself with mentors to learn faster and now I try to share my experience with others to aid their STEM or business careers.
What song, quote, statement or image do you find most encouraging?
93 PERCENT STARDUST
We have calcium in our bones, iron in our veins, carbon in our souls, and nitrogen in our brains. 93 percent stardust, with souls made of flames, we are all just stars that have people neams.
– Nikita Gill
How are you redefining a stereotype?
A young, female and BAME entrepreneur
What advice or top tip would you give to the next generation of BAME individuals?
Just go for it! Do not overthink.