3 min read
“I have the opportunity to bring value to the UK, grow personally and achieve my full potential”
“Receiving the Tech Nation Visa gave me an opportunity to search and grow outside of my home country of South Africa. When I received the Tech Nation Visa, I took the opportunity with both hands. I got the chance to work for Visa, a company I’d wanted to work for for almost a decade, I also started my own company, got funding and began building a life in London.
Due to my choice to put focus on employed work instead of academics, coupled with my being from South Africa, it was very difficult for me to move anywhere in the world. Tech Nation gave me the opportunity to bring value to the UK, grow personally and have the space to achieve my full potential.
The quality of life in the UK is fantastic. Everything is easily accessible – if you want good food, a night out, nature from parks to forests – all of it is within an easy reach. I particularly love London as I enjoy the busyness of the city, while being able to take a break in a park or at a gallery. The UK has incredible countryside with some of the friendliest people I have met. Driving through the country and experiencing the deep history is one of my favourite things to do.
The tech scene in the UK is bristling and incredibly active. There is never a lack of events to go to, across all different verticals and focus areas. Within UK companies, I have also found a marked focus on developing staff internally and growing skill sets. The large majority of people I have met in tech circles have been open and welcoming, as well as from a broad range of backgrounds. Learning from different situations, problems and circumstances has helped me to approach challenges in new ways.
In my working life I have found the UK to be filled with opportunity. As an employed contractor in the software engineering space, the ease of finding high quality work has enabled me to better add value to the companies I choose.
In my work for Visa, I delivered a product and pipeline that was the first in the organisation’s history. Working with a team under me, we delivered several pilots into production. This was celebrated across the organisation internationally, getting recognition from the European CEO.
The UK’s framework when it comes to dealing with and supporting businesses is absolutely fantastic. Other countries have policies that are outright antagonistic to building businesses, where the UK in many cases is wonderfully open and enabling. An example of this is the SEIS/EIS scheme which is a great incentive for investment.
When I came to the UK and founded my own company, BVNK (it makes core banking software), we received angel investment under the SEIS scheme. Since then we have generated more revenue than investment, have five full-time employees , and we’re looking to grow our team. We are currently raising investment and expanding our client base in the UK and Europe.
Personally I have grown tremendously through my professional work, growing my company and building a life in the UK. The environment can be as challenging as you can handle, and allow you to reach new achievements.
If I have any advice to offer potential Visa applicants, it’s to believe in your ability to achieve. Throughout my professional life, including the visa application process, there seemed to be hurdles at every corner. Continued momentum underpinned by a belief in myself to deliver these hurdles become nothing more than a part of the journey.”