Entrepreneur Elizabeth Takyi discussed her late dyslexia diagnosis, her social enterprise, and how employers can better support those with dyslexia.
Elizabeth’s talk, organised by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre, was delivered to mark Disability History Month at Imperial.
In case you missed it, here are the top takeaways from Elizabeth’s talk.
Elizabeth’s journey to entrepreneurship
Elizabeth described how she wanted to read and learn at a young age but struggled in academic environments, dropping out of college after just two weeks. This did not stop Elizabeth however, as she built up industry experience and used this to successfully apply for a place at a London university.
“Dyslexia was never going to stop me from achieving.” Elizabeth Takyi
Elizabeth wondered how many other people had struggled to fulfill their full potential because they had not been diagnosed or had no support. Having left her last job due to her dyslexia impacting her work, and with only £1.25 in her bank account, Elizabeth went about setting up a social enterprise called Aspire2Inspire Dyslexia (A2i Dyslexia).
Aspiring to inspire
In its first year A2i Dyslexia only had two clients. “Most people would have walked away at that point but I had a vision and I knew that the services were really needed,” Elizabeth said. Today, A2i Dyslexia has over 750 clients and a yearly calendar of outreach events across London.
“There is hope and you can achieve. Dyslexia made me who I am today.” Elizabeth Takyi
A2i Dyslexia aims to provide one to one support to adults and children with Dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties who want to reach their full potential by identifying their skills, talents and utilising them to the best of their ability. In particular, A2i Dyslexia supports with screenings, building of employability skills and help with low confidence and self-esteem.
In 2017, A2i Dyslexia won a highly commended award for Best New Business at the Wandsworth Business Awards. In the past, A2i Dyslexia have received donations from notable organisations such as Barclays, Waitrose and the Co-op.
One size doesn’t fit all
Elizabeth stressed that dyslexia does not look the same for everyone and therefore individualised support is essential. “Support should be tailored to the individual, tackling the barriers they feel are affecting them most. Make no assumption about their capabilities, skills, talent or aspirations.”
Elizabeth noted some general support that could be given to all people with dyslexia however, such as one-to-one support and more time to complete certain tasks such as writing reports.