Future Startup Now Bootcamp grad, Malin talks about her experiences on Future Startup Now
End of last year I was selected to take part in Create Jobs’ Future Startup Now, a programme by non-profit A New Direction and product of the Mayor of London’s £7 million Digital Talent Programme. Future Startup Now is an intensive 3 week bootcamp designed by various startups committed to addressing the lack of representation in London’s innovation and startup sector, as well as optimise for inclusion. By equipping under-represented Londoners aged 18–24 with the skills and aptitudes needed within creative and digital businesses, the programme is generating opportunity for young people while simultaneously transforming London’s digital workforce.
Going into the programme, I wasn’t sure what to expect - I knew little about the tech industry and, if asked to do so, probably wouldn’t even have been able to define the word ‘startup’. However, I was at a stage in my life where I felt stuck. At this point it had been about nine months since I left Sweden for London and personally, I was in a good place. Simply put, I was gassed about the fact that I, in a relatively small amount of time, had created a life that felt this good. Professionally, I was frustrated. I was still in the same industry I had been in since I got my first job at the age of fifteen and, although that job was located in the Swedish countryside and this one was in south west London- there’s only so much room for improvement for a creative in hospitality. I felt stuck, and the draining activity that is ‘looking and applying for jobs only to get turned down because your experience isn’t relevant’ didn’t help. As I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do or where I should look, I was open to all opportunities coming my way - Future Startup Now being the first one up.
As someone that rarely comes unprepared, best believe I was scaring myself blind at that course content. It was understanding the industries and its verticals, launching a product, setting mental frameworks and company culture. It was professionalism, methodologies, growth methods, relationship management and community. Although it all seemed very interesting- it was to me also all mostly empty words. Until I had the knowledge behind these terms delivered to me by people from some of London’s top startups, that is.
We had Neef Rehman, designer and web developer from ustwo on scaling, James Frewin, freelance designer and social media marketer, on the fundamentals of design and Urenna Okonkwo, founder and CEO of Cashmere, on the different verticals within the tech industry in whole. Also, a good one: Michael Berhane, CEO and co-founder of People of Colour in Tech, with Abadesi Osunsade, co-founder of HustleCrew and the master mind behind the content of Future Startup Now, in a live Q&A-podcast on growth and startup success. Just to mention a few.
Going into week three, I’m in a different place. Although it has only been two weeks since the programme kicked off, I feel equipped to the point where I can say that I know what to do next. I know what the industry is about, and I’m beginning to understand the correct way of approaching it. I know how to brand myself, as well as how to present myself online. I know how to network. I know how to go about starting my own business, and, in turn, about the different options of paths to go down when aspiring to scale it. Also am I now well aware that my previous CV wasn’t shit (“This needs to go”- Thank you Pagan).
More importantly, I’m now in a completely different place mentally. I think I have always had the mindset that whatever it is I want to do; I just have to do it. However, after weeks of being around people actually wanting it, doing it - it’s like I actually believe myself saying it; whatever it is I want to do, I just have to do it.
Another valuable lesson I will be taking with me is one that might come naturally to others: Sometimes ask for help. It is not a weakness and getting where you want to be doesn’t always have to be a one-person-job. Sometimes, it involves asking others to help you get there (and when it does: ‘Make the ask clear’). Also, ‘be bold’ (Which actually apparently I do quite well- just ask Polly from Depop if she at one point didn’t feel like she was being harassed by the blonde one on her right).
All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to this decade. I’m learning every day, and besides the people previously mentioned it has been nothing but good vibes from everyone I’ve met, a few I’d like to mention being: Salwa Rogers (who’s energy I have been feeling since day 1), Jaz Broughton (that showed me how uncomplicated networking can be), and of course everyone in my cohort, all who have got big things coming and have managed to inspire me in one way or another. I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given and excited for what is to come. Because although I still don’t know exactly what I’m trying to do with my life, I’m in a way better position to figure it out.