Sharia Huda: Making Connections for Greater Inclusion and Funding
Welcome back! Spiffy here, your interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs working to make this world more equitable. Today I’m super excited to speak with Sharia Huda, co-host and strategist of NY EdTech Meetup. Are you ready to be inspired?
Spiffy: Welcome Sharia, it’s wonderful to meet you. Can you start by telling me what challenges you’re addressing?
Sharia: It’s lovely to meet you too, Spiffy. I am addressing the challenge of having access to opportunities. This includes support for entrepreneurs, funding, and bridging connections between students, professionals, policymakers, startups, underrepresented communities, and philanthropies
Spiffy: What motivated you to support so many people and organizations?
Sharia: There are so many resources and opportunities out in the world, however, access and inclusion seem to be limiting. I want to make sure that minority communities and entrepreneurs have the support they need to be successful and create generational wealth.
Spiffy: Can you talk about how you’re working to make the world a more equitable place?
Sharia: I am trying to build more partnerships between investors, non-profits, schools, and startups across developing countries so that those local entrepreneurs can thrive and build their communities. For example, one of my recent in-the-works partnerships is between a non-profit, a school system based in Haiti, and a solar wind company. The goal is to bring solar wind energy into developing countries so that students can have access to the internet. With access to the internet comes information and with information comes ideas—so future entrepreneurs can give back to their country.
Spiffy: Can you tell me about a recent milestone and the kind of impact you think it will have?
Sharia: I recently supported a philanthropic organization for a project and was giving recommendations on founders who build products that address equity and access to early childhood education. The milestone was being able to provide recommendations and introduce minority female entrepreneurs to the philanthropic organization in the hopes of getting funding for their startup.
Spiffy: Can you share about a time when you faced failure and didn't give up? What did you learn from failure?
Sharia: I feel like we are constantly going through trials and errors, so I'd say I'm always learning! However, a specific time where I faced failure was when I was hired to do a job and the company moved directions and I could not do what I was hired to do. It sure felt like a failure but it was out of my control. So I decided to learn as much as I could from the people around me and I would say, as a minority, you build a tough layer for failure. We are definitely resilient, to say the least.
Spiffy: Before we sign off, is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Sharia: We are all doing the best we can do and some of us aren't really sure. That's okay. I think as long as you have passion for what you do, you can create an impact in ways you may not even realize.
Spiffy: I would have to wholeheartedly agree, Sharia! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me, it’s been a pleasure.
Sharia Huda is a co-host and strategist for NY EdTech Meetup. As a first-generation college graduate, community and impact have always been her motivator, which is why Sharia has built her career around supporting entrepreneurs, ideating, and connecting the dots. (Nominated by Pathway Ventures. First published on the Ladderworks website on September 29, 2021)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.