"Without Balloon ICS I probably wouldn't be running a social project of my own."
In this post, we caught up with inspirational Balloon ICS Alum, Khalia Ismain, to find out what she’s been up to since she finished her placement in Kenya in 2015.
BV: Tell us a little bit about what you were doing before you applied for iCS.
KI: Before I applied for the programme, I was studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Manchester. I graduated in July 2015, and my placement started in September 2015.
BV: What was your main motivation in applying for Balloon ICS?
KI: I had seen other models of charity work in the developing world, but I really appreciate Balloon’s approach, using business to create social change.
BV: Can you remember the entrepreneurs you worked with on placement? Tell us about one who really inspired you.
KI: For sure – Jackie! She had the Midas touch! Every idea she had (selling lunches locally, diversifying to add yoghurts and smoothies) was really successful. An inspiring business woman!
BV: What skills do you think you developed most while on your placement?
KI: Improved self-confidence, improved ability to deal with people, increased maturity, improved adaptability.
BV: What have you been doing since you returned from placement?
KI: When I returned from placement, I started a project called Jamii – a discount card for Black British businesses to help people discover and use high quality businesses from the community. I also manage the marketing and branding for a new Caribbean grab & go in the City, called BAYGO.
BV: How did what you learned/developed on placement help you to achieve what you’re doing now?
KI: Everything I learned on placement has been useful in one way or another. My placement helped me understand basic business principles, the importance of just getting on with it, and how to pivot when things aren’t working. I used a lot of what I learned when starting Jamii, and without Jamii I never would have ended up working at Baygo.
BV: If you had to finish the sentence “Without Balloon ICS…” what would you say?
KI: Without Balloon ICS I probably wouldn’t be running a social project or working for BAYGO. So…thanks!