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The women who succeed against all odds

AMBITION: Mirela Sula and media business owner Faustina Anyanwu

WHEN FAUSTINA Anyanwu arrived in London ten years ago from Nigeria, to marry her future husband Emeka she didn’t find life in the UK easy.

As well as being away from her close-knit family the 38-year-old had to adapt to the lack of social networks and friendships that she had back in Nigeria.

Soon after arriving in the UK she became pregnant with her first child. Two others followed and she became a stay-at-home.

But Anyanwu, who had a background in nursing, always harboured an ambition to run her own business in media and publishing.

In 2012, despite a lack of experience in the business or contacts and financial backing, she went ahead and pursued her dream.

Today the mother-of-three is the co-publisher and chief editor of C.Hub (Creative Hub) magazine, a quarterly consumer title with a readership spanning the United States, Europe and West and Southern Africa.

C.Hub is a unisex title which focuses on African heritage and creativity in areas including food, fashion, arts and business. Reminiscing on her arrival in the UK Anyanwu said: “I observed the negative manner black women were portrayed in the media with little more than slavery being depicted in their history. C.Hub was launched to change these perceptions, by publishing articles which educate and feature positive role models rather than gossip.”

EXPANDING

Within four years of its launch C.Hub has attracted an expanding readership base, in both its digital and print formats. The magazine now has 5,000 quarterly print subscribers and 500,000 website visits monthly.

Anyanwu’s parent company, Fauntee Write Limited, also produces two events a year, the Creative African Awards, which recognises and awards the creative talents within the African and Caribbean community and Divas of Colour, a trade show and awards event.

However the businesswoman admits that despite her success, it has not been an easy journey.

“Because of the sacrifices me and Emeka made we received a lot of criticism from family who felt our children were being deprived of a comfortable upbringing,” she said. “But an auntie provided a lot of support. Finally, at the end of last year, business improved, with an increase in advertising and sponsorship for our events. Growth has exceeded expectations.”

With three children and a husband to think about achieving a work life balance can be tough.

Anyanwu recalls working long exhausting hours while balancing children on her knees.

But, she says, her husband’s willingness to assist with family duties while she worked hard to build the business has been invaluable.

The entrepreneur now plans to make Divas of Colour an international event taking place in different locations annually.
Faustina Anyanwu’s achievements demonstrate what migrants in the UK can achieve with the right support and confidence, something which will be the focus of an event in London this week called the Migrant Woman Conference.

The theme of this year’s conference, which takes place this Saturday (May 28) is Overcoming Barriers and Achieving Success.

Speakers including Jenny Garrett, author of Rocking Your Role and Camilita Nuttall founder of The Events of Champions, will reveal their formula for financial success and independence to the 300 delegates who will be attending.

Mirela Sula, organised the first Conference last year, after launching the online magazine Migrant Woman and the Migrant Woman Association (MWA), a non-profit organisation which assists migrant women to integrate and reach their potential in the UK. The MWA has a database of 9,500 women.

Talking about her vision for the conference the 41-year-old from Albania told The Voice: “I want migrant women to be inspired to improve the quality of their lives. Many were professionals or entrepreneurs in their home countries, but because of a lack of social support and language barriers in the UK many find themselves unemployed or in low paid jobs. The Conference is designed to unlock their potential by building confidence and networks so they can make a more significant contribution to the British economy.”

Sula, a PhD student of psychology at Regents University, believes the economic and social difficulties many migrant women experience are reinforced by an unwillingness to share their predicament with the media, often due to concerns about being stigmatised.

She said: “Migrant women must shift their mind-set so the British media becomes aware of their challenges, while striving to have more of an impact on society. The Conference will address these issues.”

■ The Migrant Woman Conference will take place at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, in South Kensington, London

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