Mofoluke Ayoola is an innovator in the home furnishing industry. A strong role model and business woman with a clear track record of growing successful businesses. Mofoluke moved to London to complete her Masters in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership to build and design an innovative app to add to her existing business.
So it was extremely disheartening when Mofoluke applied for Stage 1 endorsement for the UK Global Talent Visa in digital technologies #TechNationVisa and didn’t receive a successful result. She worked so hard on her Stage 1 endorsement application, contacted experts, gathered documents, updating her CV and LinkedIn profile and poured her heart and soul into her 1000 word personal statement. As a result, she could not apply for the UK Global Talent Visa.
This is because the UK Global Talent Visa in digital technologies is a 2 step process. Stage 1 is the endorsement process where applicants must meet the strict criteria and be endorsed with exceptional talent or exceptional promise by Tech Nation hence why it is also called the #TechNationVisa. Only once the applicant is endorsed by Tech Nation can they apply for Stage 2: the UK Global Talent Visa.
The Stage 1 endorsement application has no bearing on an applicant’s UK immigration status. Even if one is endorsed by Tech Nation with exceptional talent or exceptional promise, Stage 2 is the actual visa application under the Global Talent Visa route.
Mofoluke felt extra pressure because time on her existing visa in the UK was getting closer and a successful endorsement was her golden ticket would mean that she could apply for the Stage 2 visa immediately and her plans in the UK would become more certain.
Mofoluke contacted me after she received an unsuccessful result from Tech Nation to seek my help in reviewing her Stage 1 application and decision. Unfortunately, Tech Nation (formerly Tech City UK) deemed that she didn’t meet some of the criteria and upon my review, the structure of her application and documents presented didn’t allow Tech Nation’s Assessor to fully understand her story, her innovation and her future plans in the UK.
What was clear was Mofoluke wanted to show so much evidence by selecting nearly all the criteria with the limitation of ten documents. In other words, she had decided to cast her net wide rather than narrow and focus on specific elements of her application.
Mofoluke also underestimated the value in the amount of awards she had received over the years for her business. Being recognised as one of the women leading innovative companies in Nigeria, being interviewed by tech publications, volunteering to encourage young BAME girls to consider a career in tech, winning many awards for her business as well as being nominated for international awards all showed her impact and potential leading talent.
In a matter of weeks, Mofoluke and I worked very hard on her 2nd application for the Stage 1 Global Talent Visa endorsement application and presented a different set of documents, we restructured her application, redrafted her personal statement to make it clear that she had examples of innovation, significant impact and potential leadership in both the Nigerian and the UK tech sector. The initial feedback from Tech Nation’s Assessors were invaluable in helping her restructure her application and forced her to focus on meeting the strict criteria.
Mofoluke felt so much pressure submitting the Stage 1 endorsement application on time and the second time around. She finally submitted just before Christmas 2019. After what seemed like an eternity, she was deemed by Tech Nation’s assessors that she had exceptional promise!! Mofoluke received this good news just before her current visa in the UK expired. While Mofoluke still had to leave the country and go home to apply for her Stage 2 Global Talent Visa application, knowing that she was successfully endorsed with exceptional promise meant that she would be back in the UK to continue her start up and add value to the UK tech sector for the next 5 years made this intense process, the emotional journey and uncertainty about her future in the UK all the more worth it. Because now her future of living in London and the UK is certain.
I absolutely loved receiving the long awaited message from Mofoluke to say:
And along with most applicants, she was in disbelief and asked me to confirm that the decision was real, that the Tech Nation Assessor had actually endorsed her. Mofoluke certainly was endorsed with exceptional promise.
Now with her UK Global Talent Visa #TechNationVisa, Mofoluke looks back at her whole journey, and advises that applicants should:
- Critically look at the requirements;
- Evaluate where you are in terms of what you currently have and what you need to put together a strong and compelling application;
- Work on your gaps;
- Don’t be discouraged with the process, be focussed, get help; and
- Trust the process.
And Mofoluke adds:
My initial unsuccessful application came with feedback that further increased my chances. Michelle helped me in putting a structure and strategy around my application. That was the gap for me. I was so overwhelmed with the process and Michelle’s help and support was my golden bullet.
After working with Mofoluke, in such a short period of time, we bonded over the intense experience and the rollercoaster of emotions. For me, it is so rewarding to share the joy but the joy also sometimes comes with the disappointment. When Mofoluke was unsuccessful the first time, I really felt for her.
There is always a way, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but there always will be. Positive thoughts, positive action, hard work, the right support, self awareness and the drive to achieve your goals is extremely important. What I liked about working with Mofoluke was she didn’t look back. Tech Nation Assessor’s decision was made. Her decision to resubmit was made. She looked forward and focussed 150% on her new application. And that is because for every set back, there is a comeback. I am so pleased for Mofoluke that she came back … to the UK.
If you would like guidance and help on the Stage 1 Global Talent Visa Endorsement process or appeals, I help highly skilled tech entrepreneurs and talent increase their chances for a successful application for endorsement for exceptional promise or exceptional talent. For all my packages of support for the Stage 1 UK Global Talent Visa, click here.
This blog was written by Michelle Hua, Consultant, Speaker, CEO & Founder of Made With Glove. In 2016, Michelle was the recipient of the Exceptional Talent Visa (now called Global Talent Visa) and is the former #TechNationVisa Ambassador. Michelle consults for highly skilled tech entrepreneurs and people working in digital technologies on how they can receive the endorsement for exceptional talent or exceptional promise. Read Michelle’s other blogs on the #TechNationVisa here and Michelle’s own journey here.