“The Pioneer Programme was absolutely phenomenal”

Susan Christine Wachera, MSc Organisational Psychology student and winner of 2022 Pioneer Award for the Best Business Pitch, tells the story of her business, Black Talanta, as well as sharing her experience of taking part in Pioneer, a Birkbeck programme that helps students and graduates develop the knowledge and skills they need to start a business.

Susan Wachera

What is your business about?
Black Talanta supports Black students and recent graduates in accessing highly-skilled employment, mentorships and internships.

Did you always know you’d be a businesswoman?
From the age of 10 my whole life had actually been geared towards becoming a doctor. I studied BSc Medical Biochemistry and received an offer for a place at medical school. However, I knew I also had this other side of me that was very entrepreneurial and business-minded. I’ve always had side hustles going on. I thought for a while I could balance being a part-time doctor with my other businesses. Everyone thought I was crazy!

Why didn’t you end up pursuing a degree in medicine?
During my undergraduate degree, I founded a business that helped secure students medical internships and work placements. By doing this, I realised I had a talent in supporting people write CVs and build their personal brand, and I wanted to explore this career path further. I made a big and brave decision to give up my place in medical school, the year before I was due to start. I wanted to find out who I was when medicine wasn’t involved – because my whole identity at that time was wrapped up in medicine.

What did you do next?
I discovered Birkbeck’s MSc Organisational Psychology course and I was mind blown. I never knew that I could combine my love for business and my love for psychology. I started the course in October 2020 and haven’t looked back. Black Talanta came about through my lived experience and my desire to help other Black people secure opportunities and achieve their goals. It has taken off in recent months, with the help of Birkbeck’s Pioneer programme.

Susan Wachera presenting at the Pioneer Awards ceremony

How did Pioneer help you progress your business idea?
Pioneer was absolutely phenomenal. It helped me move from concept to product in only three months, which is almost unheard of. I was focused on applying everything I learnt on the programme, and I was taught how to set up a business in the right way, so I managed to set the foundations for my business quickly. I really appreciated all the Pioneer workshops, mentors and resources – it definitely helped me get opportunities, such as working with the Deputy Mayor of London, Silicon Valley, and the United Nations. I would definitely recommend the programme to other students.

What are your plans for the next few months?
For Black Talanta to really work at the scale I want it to, I’m looking to develop more partnerships with employers, so I can bring in as much talent into the workforce as I can.

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1 thought on ““The Pioneer Programme was absolutely phenomenal”

  1. Simone

    I am super proud of this ingenious young woman, a CEO in her own right, Ms Susan Wachera!!
    What a wonderful business concept!
    Simply put, Bill Gates who? The world needs to watch out; cause there’s a new kid on the block and she’s bringing the fire!!

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