Hafsa Isse and Ikran Egal

Fursada is a consultation and recruiting firm that solely targets minority groups in marginalized communities for Toronto-based corporations. Fursada assists in consulting corporations on recruitment policies that are not inclusive to minority youth. They also facilitates in recruiting top talent to effectively fill these gaps in the workplace. The social enterprise is actively working towards SDG Goal #1 – No Poverty, SDG Goal #10 – Reducing Inequalities, and SDG Goal #8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Q: What have you been working on in the last few months, both within and outside of your social enterprise?

Hafsa: I’m currently in Alberta, in Fort McMurray, I’m working with a few non-for-profit and social organisations here that help non-profits in the Wood Buffalo region. The department I work with specifically is social procurement, which helps develop social enterprise, similarly to what we’ve learned in the Active Citizens workshops. My role right now is helping to support other non-for-profit organisations which is giving me a better understanding of how things go from the funder’s and the support partner’s standpoint. Alongside with me working in social procurement in the Fort McMurray, I’m doing research remotely to develop our proposal. The work, however, is primarily, on the ground, connecting with organisations on a personal level and building relationships with our contacts.

Ikran: I’ve just been here in Toronto, trying to build on our contacts and get back into relation with some people who we have worked with or are working with for the last 6 years. I have worked with the Somali-Canadian Congress Association with a lot of the youth programs they led for the Somali community, so I’m in talks with them to get mentorships and use their facilities for our training purposes. We are also trying to get in touch with high schools in our area to build workshops for the students and we are trying to get connections with faith-based groups, like the local mosques.

Hafsa: Our main goal right now, is to connect with these schools and potentially launch our first pre-employment informative workshop in the fall. This would be a very informal workshop where we would take 45 min to speak about what we are doing with Fursada and then launch into pre-employment topics such as resume building, what to do in an interview and even some interview practise. We also both signed up to be part of a start-up entrepreneurship boot camp online series, which will hopefully help us gain more knowledge from the entrepreneurial building. Since we’re both going back to school in the fall, we took some social entrepreneurship courses in order to gain as much information and knowledge as possible to help support us internally so that we are able to communicate our project as effectively as possible.

Q: Have you been speaking with any similar organisations, maybe for different minority groups or communities, to see how they operate?

Hafsa: There’s actually an organisation here in Alberta, the Alberta Somali Association, they were launching a similar project as we are, but on much larger, provincial scale. They were granted $3 million from the government in order to launch the project, however it failed within the first year. We’re looking at this organisation to see what went wrong and how can we connect with each other to help grow.

Q: You both have a lot on your plate, especially since you’re going back to school, what is it that helps you keep pushing forward with the project?

Ikran: For myself, and for Hafsa as well, it’s just something we’ve been trying to do for years: we have always wanted to do something to give back to our community and help it grow. We always see the issue and we want to fix it. If we just push ourselves, and have the drive and passion for it, then I think you can accomplish anything. Honestly we have that passion and these issues are something we can relate to, we see them every day and we just want to help the youth in our community. They just need someone to open the door for them and create these opportunities to them.

Hafsa: We’re both youth that fall under these statistics, we’re both the youth that fall under these stigmas, we’re both youth who live in marginalised communities – it motivates us because we live the story. If we have the ability, knowledge, skills, and passion, why not do it?

Interviewers: ACSE team

Canada, 2017