05 Feb 2021

Meet Aish – our new Programme Associate

By Aish Moothan

Hi everyone,

I’m Aish and I’m very excited to be joining BGV as Programme Associate this year.

I spent the first half of my life moving from continent to continent because of my parents’ jobs. What I may have lost out on in terms of continuity I gained in experiences – picking up not only different languages (although, my Portuguese is now mostly limited to food items) but also growing up with diverse communities and world views.

I think it was these experiences that – a year into my Economics degree at McGill University – made me shirk the assumptions repeated over and over in my textbooks, and I started to look elsewhere for more pluralistic ways of looking at the world. I got involved in the university’s policy association, which introduced me to an entire community of like-minded people who wanted to see a shift in how disciplines like economics and politics imagine society. We spent the year organising debates and seminars across campus with a wider mission to open up the largely opaque world of policy-making. Seeing ideas we were passionate about take shape – going from plans to then reality – and having been part of that momentum, was an immense rush. I think it’s also one of the things that made me want to be part of running the BGV programme.

In my second year, I took up a role as Community Manager at Opportutoring. Opportutoring is a non-profit that came into being at the height of the refugee crisis and plays its part in tackling it by linking English-speaking university students and refugees trying to settle in the EU. My job was to help pair refugees with tutors and ensure their progression towards English-language certification. During my time there I saw a groundswell of fellow students wanting to contribute to that mission. 

Opportutoring was and remains to this day entirely volunteer-run and has now expanded to London and Beijing. As my time at university was coming to a close, two things were becoming clear to me; first, that more and more of my peers were seeking out ways – outside of full-time jobs or degrees – to get involved in their communities to drive social change. Second, that my ideal place was within a purpose-driven organisation. The latter became somewhat of a professional goal I set for my future self, thinking it unlikely that I’ll find such a role so early on in my career. 

In 2019, I landed a role at an early-stage startup called Acre within the London incubator, Founders Factory. Having moved to London for its rich startup scene, here I was pleasantly surprised to see big-name corporates invest heavily in innovation and disruptive ideas – when they’re traditionally thought of as being averse to both those things. I spent the year sitting desks apart from a diverse group of young companies and the immensely talented teams behind them. I also caught glimpses of what it means to be an investor in early-stage ventures and so a year on, I decided to explore the investment side of things. 

Bethnal Green Ventures caught my attention because it’s uniquely placed; as a venture capital fund with a 12-week support programme, it’s the perfect platform for me to pursue my professional goals and learn all I can about the world of investment. Coming across BGV was a result of both incredible timing and my intentional emphasis on impact investing within my search. Our mission also reflects my hopes for where and whom investment is directed towards and whether tech and innovation have a net positive impact on our communities. 

The Programme Associate role is reminiscent of a lot of the work I did during my days at university. Only, this time around I get to help an entire cohort of founders and teams take their ambitious ideas and turn them into backable ventures, with the potential to impact millions. My first few weeks have been punctuated by talking to companies applying to our S21 programme, sharp but immensely interesting learning curves and a massively supportive team environment – all while working remotely. If you’d like to know more about what I do at BGV or want to talk to me about impact and investment, I’d love to chat! 

I’m really looking forward to kicking off our Spring 2021 programme, meeting more people in the BGV community and of course, getting to know the new cohort of ventures – can’t wait to get stuck in.