How did you hear about AAI and the Back To Work project to support women returners?
Drink Baotic first came across AAI after winning Scottish EDGE Wild Card as the company is quite active in supporting progressive entrepreneurial startup businesses in this space. They have done a lot to help new companies to build their team, recruit the right people as well as find roles for graduates. The AAI team have always engaged positively with us through social media as I believe we share common values as businesses driven by social purpose. It was a real privilege to be accepted as one of three companies to be part of this government-funded ‘Back to work’ initiative supporting women from ethnic minority backgrounds.
With a background supporting entrepreneurial female co-operatives in rural Gambia, the project was perfectly aligned to our values and motivations for social development, diversity and opportunity for all.
What was the process like working with AAI on the project?
The process of working with AAI was straightforward, professional and accommodating. As a young startup, with limited experience in hiring team members, it was hugely beneficial to be supported by AAI and the flexibility they provide to make the process work for all involved. Their experience supporting startups also meant they were perfectly placed in working to our own organised chaos and ensuring a smooth transition for the intern and for ourselves.
How has your Returner benefitted the business and what surprised you most about them?
We were fortunate to be placed with Viana, who herself aligned perfectly to our values, as well as having some prior experience and understanding of startups and startup culture. She really helped to develop new design and social media strategies and some early practices around applying these, which will continue to help us be more efficient as we grow. The production of customer-facing literature was produced with professionalism and flair and has helped improve the credibility of some core areas of our B2B and B2C marketing. She was also proactive in supporting many of the day to day initiatives and flexible to lend a helping hand with events and spontaneous activities. This helped us to dedicate more time to focus on growing the other sides of the business. Having an additional positive, healthy and motivated person in the office bought far more than any job description could have advertised for.
How do feel your Returner benefitted from the process and the opportunity with your company?
Viana was able to apply and build on some prior experience and theory learnt during recent studies. It has given her an opportunity to learn from other startups, and continued to inspire her to follow her own entrepreneurial initiatives. We believe that her confidence in her own ability to apply this in a practical business setting was greatly improved, and is evident in her aspirations and career outlook going forward.
What would you say to other employers about giving women opportunities to reignite their careers after a break?
Women play fundamental roles in our societies, and not least in the workplace. Supporting equality and diversity is something that makes individual companies, industries and a countries economic prosperity strong and successful and this is something that we should all value and support. Supporting women returnees can also be rewarding to know that you as a company have supported and reignited an individual’s career, and potentially impacted positively on their economic and overall wellbeing.
Anything else you’d like to say about your business, working with Adopt an Intern, or your Returner placement?
We are really grateful for the AAI and Returner placement opportunity. It has given us a rich opportunity to bring fresh ideas into the company, improved our ability to focus on new areas of the business, as well as an early opportunity to learn from building a team. It has also strengthened our belief that a diverse workforce is of great importance and an area we will continue to advocate for and build our own culture around. Thank you.