After moving to New Zealand from the island country of the Maldives at a young age, Nurain Janah grew up in Auckland as a proud Muslim Kiwi. Seeing and experiencing the spectrum of barriers and challenges to success that migrants, women of colour and young people face, as well as noticing a lack of support and representation, Nurain has made it her mission to create an equitable world.
Back in 2016, Nurain wanted to create a social enterprise to support and empower women of colour to have the tools, training and peer support to bring their authentic selves to their work and study places. While she had this idea for some time, Nurain was unsure whether it was a workable concept. She decided to take part in the CO.STARTERS programme to explore the possibilities for the idea.
"Joining CO.STARTERS gave me clarity by having dedicated time to work on and build out my idea. I was also challenged to share my idea outside my existing network, and to develop a supportive network to share frustrations and challenges. The process of developing and making the presentation to a supportive room at the final showcase was a clear highlight.”
And Authenticity Aotearoa was launched.
Authenticity Aotearoa’s mission is twofold: to build a network of thriving women of colour who are confident in claiming their diversity as strength and supporting each other to succeed, and to provide education on how to create equitable spaces and organisations that enable everyone, including women of colour, to thrive.
In 2017, Nurain was named as a finalist in the New Zealand Women of Influence Awards and also represented New Zealand at the 2017 UN Commission on the Status of Women advocating for young women of colour in the workplace.
Fast forward six years and Nurain is Founder and CEO of Authenticity Aotearoa, a charity with a social enterprise model, leading a team of about 30 volunteers and three project staff members. Last year (2021) Nurain was a finalist in the 2021 NZ Women in Governance Awards.
"It has now been six years since I did my CO.STARTERS pitch, but I still go back to the core ideas in my first pitch at the final celebration to anchor myself in the purpose behind the organisation. The process allowed me to gain clarity about why I care about this purpose-led idea and helped me to build it into the organisation that it is today."
"If you have an idea that has been bouncing around in your mind, I encourage you to join CO.STARTERS. It allows clarity – whether it is to confirm viability, challenge you to pivot into a different space, or simply provide you with key entrepreneurial skills that can apply to new ideas you might work on later."
If CO.STARTERS sounds like something you want to get involved with, get in touch.