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Nasreen Ali

Nasreen Ali Mohamed

BA (Hons) Business Management 2013

Nasreen was named the University of Sunderland’s Alumni Achiever of the Year 2019 (Kenya).

2013 BA Business Management graduate Nasreen Ali is co-founder and chief financial officer at Cherchani Africa, a social enterprise which uses mobile technology to provide financial education to women and former street children who are running micro enterprises in Kenya.

Nasreen, 32, picked up her award at a graduation ceremony at INtel College in Nairobi recently. Her social enterprise, Cherchani, supports the businesses of thousands of young women in Africa.


She said: “My mother was a micro-entrepreneur, and I saw how difficult it was for her to keep her business sustainable. She borrowed from loan sharks whose high interest rates stagnated the potential of her business.

“Witnessing her struggles made me really empathise with women and girls with a vision to start and run their own businesses.”

In 2014 Nasreen co-founded Cherehani Africa with a vision of supporting communities through access to financial services. The business is driven by the belief that informal economies are invigorated when women micro-entrepreneurs have easy access to vital financial services and business management skills.

Nasreen said: “Cherehani Africa is a not for profit social enterprise that uses mobile based technology to provide credit and distribute personalised financial education to women and adolescent girls who own micro-enterprises.

“These women and girls are small holder farmers, vegetable vendors, tailors, hairdressers, shop keepers and food vendors who operate in financially underserved rural areas.”

As well as financial support, Cherehani encourage sustainable growth through providing the entrepreneurs with financial literacy training and customised business advice. They currently serve more than 12,000 micro-entrepreneurs, focusing on rural and remote regions.

Recently Nasreen also launched Afrikapu, a social-enterprise that sells African handmade products made by marginalized women and young people in Africa.

“We offer guidance and practical training methods to skilled, but marginalised, people.  By fostering a culture of personal development and balanced growth we are determined to contribute a sustainable business model, with strategic access to global markets.”

Professor Lawrence Bellamy, Dean of the Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism at the University of Sunderland, presented Nasreen Ali with her award in Kenya. 

He said: “Nasreen has developed her entrepreneurial skills through her studies and linked these with a range of employment experiences to build a fantastic profile. She is now putting all that experience and learning to great use in working with women and youth through social enterprise endeavours.

“By providing start up finance and technological know-how her company has now helped thousands of women become micro-entrepreneurs, many working from rural and remote areas. She has achieved this at a point early in her career and shows exceptional potential to move forward to even greater impact projects in the future.

“The INtel graduation ceremony was an exceptionally moving and lively event, with a performance by Spellcast the ‘Africa’s Got Talent’ finalists and recognition of the tremendous efforts of students to complete their awards, a number facing significant personal barriers. The vuvuzelas also added a particular feel to proceedings! It also marked a move into the 20th year of collaboration with INtel our longstanding partner, who are now developing business incubation to reflect our own activities here in Sunderland. I am sure the celebrations next year will be exceptional.”

Nasreen added: “I receive so much inspiration from INtel and the University of Sunderland. They gave me the strength to challenge myself.

“I am so humbled and honoured to be awarded The Alumni Achiever of The Year. It’s recognition like this that develop the confidence needed to take a journey further.”

INtel College, Nairobi, was established in 1990 and has been working in partnership with the University of Sunderland since 2000, proving quality education that meets international standards for students in Kenya.


Watch Nasreen's presentation

In January 2021 we welcomed Nasreen Ali as part of our Alumni Guest Speaker talks to deliver a presentation her career journey.

Watch the event recording now. 

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