How we made it: Fuad Mahamed is changing perceptions of UK refugees

How we made it: Fuad Mahamed is changing perceptions of UK refugees

The NatWest SE100 Awards earlier this year went to seven of the UK’s most innovative pioneers in the social enterprise space. But what is the story behind their successes? In our new 'How we made it' film series, we explore the journey of each winner – and discover just how they have made it to the top of their game.

First up is Leadership Award winner Fuad Mahamed, CEO and founder of refugee integration and resettlement social enterprise ACH.

Over 21 years ago, Fuad Mahamed arrived in the UK as a refugee from Somalia. Although grateful to be welcomed into the country, he felt frustrated at the feeling that people perceived him as “humanitarian case and a charity case” rather than a person who could contribute to UK society at a high level.

Refugees should not be defined as a just a charitable case, or a humanitarian case

Following a successful career in the corporate sector, Fuad went on to found ACH – a social enterprise which works with refugees and migrants to not only support them in finding housing, but to provide them with training and education to help settle them into UK society – without the “broken refugee” stigma that can come with it.

Since 2013, it has gone from an organisation of 12 people turning over £1m, to more than 70 people with a turnover of £5m +. It has housed more than 500 tenants, and trains more than 3,000 people at any given time. 

WATCH ABOVE to find about more about the work of ACH, and why Fuad's leadership won him the award.

Producer: Caroline Hailstone, videographer: David Pardoe.

Next up in the series: How music label InHouse Records is rebuilding the lives of people inside and outside of prison through music