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The student entrepreneur helping young people to speak in public with confidence


A second-year student at Swansea University has turned her podcast venture into a new business helping young develop public speaking and confidence skills.

Saadia Abubaker, 19, a psychology and sociology student, set up Saadia Speaks from a podcast of the same name to provide confidence building workshops. Through a range of career events, panel discussions and one-on-one consultations hosted in conjunction with organisations and charities including Women After Greatness, Mind and Digilearning, she aims to inspire Wales’ younger generation to pave their own paths.

In recent month Ms Abubaker hosted five workshops on behalf of charities and organisations, produce the podcast Youth Voice’ with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation as part of their United Against Racism campaign, and run open discussion events in schools across the UK, inspiring the generations of tomorrow.

Born in Sudan before moving to Swansea in 2004, she launched Saadia Speaks with a sole mission of helping fellow young people to have more belief in themselves.

She said: “I commonly find myself chatting to 14–24-year-old individuals who are looking for that initial spark and first steps of inspiration to catapult them into their dreamed futures. By sharing my own experiences, the stories of other inspiring people, and offering fundamental advice on leadership, creativity and confidence, I can help others have the opportunities I have had. It’s important that young people make their own future and don’t just wait for an opportunity to knock.”

The young entrepreneur has also hosted open discussions regarding racial inequality and mental health on behalf of charities who want to facilitate wider awareness and discussions on key, integral topics within the communities they operate in.

On launching a business during lockdown, Ms Abubaker said: “Saadia Speaks has really thrived during lockdown. Being solely online and hosting virtual events has helped to spread the word about my business among different clients and communities and has supported me in reaching out for opportunities. It’s also so much easier to run a business virtually – I can be on campus and host a workshop in between lectures.

With the support of the Welsh Government backed Big Ideas Wales initiative, she has turned Saadia Speaks from a voluntary organisation into a revenue generating business.

Ms Abubaker said “The simplified business advice from Big Ideas Wales and their encouragement has been pivotal in helping Saadia Speaks grow into the business it is today. I’ve been given advice on how to run a business, insurance, website construction, tone of voice and so much more – all of which I know are vital to a successful business and online presence.

She plans to expanding to the business to hosting a large-scale conference to connect all the people she’s engaged with so far in one place.

Natalie Duckett, business adviser at Big Ideas Wales said: “Saadia is the perfect example of how you can utilise what’s at your fingertips, having taken her own experiences and awareness and moulding this into a public speaking business. Saadia came to us with a passion for inspiring and guiding others but didn’t shy away from receiving the support and guidance she needed herself to build Saadia Speaks. Saadia has a unique ability to understand the concerns and needs of others and is the perfect person to utilise this gift and support others in achieving their dreams.”

Swansea University enterprise officer, Kelly Jordan said: “It is great to see students like Saadia who are not only paving the way for their own future but making it their sole mission to educate and inspire those around them while igniting confidence in herself and others. I am sure Saadia will go on to achieve great things in the future, with Saadia Speaks being a true representation of her hard work and determination.

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: I am delighted to hear of Saadia’s success. She has identified a clear opportunity to apply her academic knowledge, her passion and experiences to inspire other young people.

“This is the sort of entrepreneurial flair we want to encourage through our ambitious new Young Person’s Guarantee, and I’m delighted Saadia was able to access the support she needed from Swansea University and Big Ideas Wales to make her vision a reality.”

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