After a long and successful career in IT, Mavis Amankwah’s passion for business spurred her on to launch her own communications agency in 2001. Her goal was to help businesses connect with minority communities, and those classed as hard to reach.
Tell us bout your company. What type of clients do you work with, what inspired you to start it and how is it different to that of rivals on the market?
I have two divisions: Rich Visions Diversity Communications, which helps corporate organisations reach ethnic minority communities. We carry out specific targeted campaigns reaching ethnic communities through their culture, religion generation and language.
Rich Visions Small Business helps small businesses to grow with marketing, PR and funding. We understand the market, the needs of small businesses and the challenges they go encounter.
What is a typical day for you? What does your role entail? What general challenges do you face as a founder and as a woman in your sector? Are you involved in other projects?
No day is the same. It can be a challenge because I do try to help as many people as possible. Making sure I create a personal relationship with people is important to me as I like to be accessible to people.
Work-life balance has has been a challenge, but as my children grew up, it became less difficult. I am involved in a lot of projects and I want to do more. In the next life I would like to be an Octopus – with many hands to help more people.
What are your company’s biggest achievements to date?
Assisting many small businesses through Rich Visions Small Business. We have helped many business owners to access loans, and we have advised them on how to spend the finance wisely. It is always a joy to see businesses grow.
Through Rich Visions Diversity Communications, we have helped many big companies to understand diverse communities and this has been very rewarding.
What have been the key challenges for your organisation?
Cash flow was a challenge early on, but we developed systems to manage this.
How lucrative has the business been for you, and what excites you most about what you do?
It is very lucrative, but what excites me is getting testimonies from clients. I enjoy the fact that I have made a difference in someone’s business over a certain period of time.
What is the greatest challenge and the greatest reward in being your own boss? What is the greatest lessons you have learned?
Challenges: Constant changes in business, economy and politics.
Rewards: The flexibility is great. Creating your own wealth, winning and being nominated for awards are another bright side to being your own boss.
What are your priorities as a business leader? How do you intend to ensure the business continues to thrive?
Creating jobs and contributing to the UK economy. Furthermore, making a difference is a priority in terms of being a black woman and showing that it can be done. I intend for the business to thrive through personal development by having a mentor, coach and being open to change.
What do you identify as some of the prevailing issues that women face in business and in senior positions?
Having children and going on maternity leave is a prevailing issue because it’s a challenge to get back into the game and show you are still committed. Equal pay is another issue as well as getting into high senior management positions. Ethnicity is definitely a factor, however I do not let that barrier stop me. Being a woman as well is also a factor. Women in leadership is a vital agenda for me. As women, we should keep growing despite the challenge.
Have you experienced any scenarios where women have been subject to some type of discrimination, or an incident where gender or ethnicity was a distinguishing or significant factor?
I have witnessed it on many occasions, as I speak to many women. However, the problem is that people are scared to talk (many women do not want it to seem like they are playing the race or gender card).
Which other businesses and, or business woman do you admire and why?
Michelle Mone. She is very humble, real and down to earth. I listen to her speeches and I am consistently inspired. Also a lot of women in my business club inspire me. It is amazing the stories you hear. We have one woman with five kids, running a business and she still has time for others. It shows you that your passion can be turned into a profit if you put in the time and effort.
With all your career accomplishments, what are the principles, philosophies and guidelines that have brought you this far? What do you live by?
Perseverance and determination are very important.
What is your end goal? And what’s next for your business?
My end goal is to create a legacy and continue to grow as an individual. I also want to be remembered as a leading and inspiring black woman in business.