Barclays Black Founder Accelerator:


Gerald Manu (CEO & Founder), Isaac Ntanda (CFO & Co-founder), and Abdul Babar (Software developer) tell us why Booklyst joined the Barclays Black Founder Accelerator.

Tell us about Booklyst.

Booklyst is an app platform which connects hair and beauty service providers to clients. Book hair and beauty treatment directly on the app wherever you are.

Why did you join the Barclays Black Founder Accelerator?

I decided to join the Barclays Black founder because I think it is an amazing opportunity especially as a black founder. I understand the knowledge and skills I will gain at the end of the programme will be immerse and will help take my company to next stage. Learning how to scale a business to getting investment ready. These are valuable skills I know the programme will provide. Moreover, the mentorship provided for the programme will help me as founder to learn new things in the tech industry and gain new knowledge as CEO & founder. These types of opportunity for a black founder is very rare to come by! So i am really thrilled and extremely happy to get started. Lastly, Foundervine and Barclays accelerators both have a really impressive track record in helping startups turn their dreams to a reality! providing them with knowledge, skills and mentorship. That also inspired me to apply to the programme.

What would be your desired outcome from this programme?

My desired outcome will be to gain great mentorship, learn new skills as an entrepreneur, expand my network, meet new people to connect with, development for my tech product, access to funding & investors, learning how to raise capital, learning how to hire as a CEO, branding & designing.

Which entrepreneur inspires you the most and why?

Elon musk inspires me the most because of his work ethic and mentality. There is no limit to his creativity, which is something I really admire. For his company spaceX to partner up with NASA to send astronauts to space goes to show anyone can achieve great things if the hard work is put into it. My two favourite quotes from Elon Musk are " I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary". Another favourite quote is "when something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour".

What has been your biggest win in your entrepreneurial journey?

My biggest win in my entrepreneurial journey is being able to turn my vision into a reality and turning an idea into an actual working product. This is a massive achievement to me because it is all about turning ideas into a reality, that is the first step towards taking action as an entrepreneur.

And your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge I have faced is lack of funding and limited resources to execute my plans for my company

Where did you go for business advice and how did it help you?

I have a mentor called Joel Blake who is also a tech entrepreneur and holds an OBE title. Joel has helped me a lot in terms of business consulting, decision making, legal aspects of business and the fundamentals of running a startup..

What drives you to make your business a success?

I am driven by multiple factors to make my business a success. Creating value for others in business is really key to me, it motivates me to make sure the business becomes a success. Because every time my business creates value for another person it makes a huge difference. Creating value can be in terms of saving them money, saving them time and a great customer service. Another factor that drives me to make my business a success is my family, friends & community. I want to be able to give back to them when I am successful. Because of the constant support I get from them, it motivates me to work hard and achieve success so that one day I will be able to give back to them. I believe in giving back to the people who supported you and helped you on your journey, never forgetting where I came from.

What advice would you give other founders thinking about starting their own business?

I will urge every founder to take the bold step and start their business. They should not live in fear but rather take the risk and start the business they have been thinking about. It is not an easy journey but if you got a vision and a passion in business they should definitely start the business. This is the best time to start a business, in hard times like these is where many opportunities comes into place.

Why did you want to start your business?

I started my business because I wanted to create value, help others and change the world one day. I want to leave an impact on people's lives positively with my business. I also have a passion for creating things and bringing new ideas to life. I enjoy everything about being an entrepreneur.

What do you do to relax when not working?

I mostly watch Japanese anime series, sometimes I also play football to keep active or go to shopping. I also enjoy watching football games, my favourite team is Liverpool. I also enjoy watching lifestyle documentary on entrepreneurs seeing their journey and how they achieved success

How has covid made you pivot your business?

I have learned a lot during these hard times being an entrepreneur. Keeping things digital online and working remotely has definitely been key and something I have adapted to. It also helps to save and cut down costs.

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