Anisa Haghdadi graduated from Aston University with a BSc in Business and Management in 2012. She set up her first social enterprise at the age of 15 and hasn't looked back since.
Anisa set up her first social enterprise, a dance company, when she was 15. By the time she was 16 she was running three dance classes, co-ordinating events, mentoring young people and actually starting to get them incubating their own projects. From there she has worked on various social action and enterprise initiatives, trying to bridge two worlds by bringing the professional to the creative and the creative to the professional.
Her most recent social enterprise, Beatfreeks, aims to develop transferable skills in young people and empower them to create change on a personal, community and global level. In 2014 she was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to education and young people.
How did you first become involved with Aston University?
I was really interested in International Business when I was in sixth form and so I actually applied to do International Business and French at Aston but switched to Business and Management. I struggled at the beginning of university, suffering from anxiety and depression. I was finding it really difficult but then got myself a meeting with Peter Shearer in the Business Partnership Unit and things have absolutely snowballed from there. Aston has been really supportive of me individually, but also the initiatives and ventures that I’ve been working on. I can’t believe how active Aston is; I feel like it creates champions because people go on to shout about how great it is.
What has your connection with Aston given you personally?
So much! Finishing university was a huge achievement, but for me personally it’s about belief… all of these people that take the time to sit with you and say “What are you doing What can we do for you” For me personally it’s that belief that has spurred me on. I feel really proud of being from Birmingham and having been educated in Birmingham.