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In one small way the pandemic was an opportunity because I was far away from the UK, at the time, in Turkey. TERN had moved their UP Collective programme entirely online and so, for the first time, were open to mentors from around the world. I felt the deep urge for change, to make a real impact during that challenging time. I remember thinking, “I need to do something, and I need to do it now.”
My family's personal history of displacement and migration played a significant role in my motivation; growing up with a firsthand understanding of the difficulties faced by those displaced by conflict and crisis, I felt a strong urge to give back in that field. Since I am an entrepreneur myself, I knew my experience being self-employed might be able to help aspiring entrepreneurs- and that is how I found TERN, a community of refugee entrepreneurs, who welcomed me as a mentor.
I mentored 2 completely different early stage entrepreneurs in 2020 & 2021 in the London edition of the UP Collective. One was building a social enterprise that supported refugee mothers and children (which eventually became https://www.coffeewithkids.co.uk/ ), and the other was building a queer beauty salon! Although they were very different, in both cases I was able to provide practical guidance and support to really interesting refugee-led businesses. I worked together with my mentees on so many aspects of their journey, from building confidence, doing competitor research together, even helping design a website! I supported TERN’s work, as well. I felt like we were all working together towards creating a better world- and having lots of fun, too!
I believe that the times we’re in present an opportunity for us to re-evaluate our priorities and work together to build a more equitable and sustainable future. My passion for mentoring for TERN meets my desire to make a positive impact in the world, a tangible impact with my mentees, and to honour the struggles and resilience of my family's own history.
Are you based in London? Do you have entrepreneurial and mentoring experience?
This summer, why not follow in Meric’s footsteps and join UP Collective and TERN as a volunteer mentor?
Meric's Mentor Story
volunteer, mentor, story