Faridah Yagboyaju (IBBA ’22) is an African-Canadian entrepreneur with a passion for helping students across the province achieve their academic goals. But when it came to her own academic goals, choosing a university was a big decision.
“Even from my teen years, I considered myself to be extremely ambitious and wanted to be in an environment that fostered both academic and personal growth,” says Faridah. “It is because of this criteria that York University stood out to me.”
But her decision to go to the Schulich School of Business proved a wise one. As a third-year undergraduate student, she founded MErai, an eLearning institution based in Ontario. After winning Schulich Startup Night (SSN) 16 in 2021, she received $6000 worth of funding and the continuous support from Schulich Startups.
“At York, the networking and learning opportunities were endless: case competitions, international exchange programs, on-campus volunteer opportunities, student organised events, clubs and so much more,” says Faridah. “Like a mini city of its own, York is home to thousands of students who come from diverse backgrounds - each with their own story to tell. The energy you feel from the student body is unbelievable.”
Since founding MErai, Faridah has provided online workshops, over 300 peer tutoring classes, facilitated dozens of student run competitions via social media, and amassed nearly 8,000 users on the company website. Her mission is to continuously help elementary and high school students (especially those with learning barriers) to find support from their peers and other students in the community.
“I want to become someone that my family, peers and society can be proud of; to serve as another inspiration and role model to dreamers of multiple groups and communities,” she says. “As a proud, black, first-generation immigrant woman, I feel so empowered from the learnings and opportunities given to me from folks I have encountered throughout my student career. My goal is to do the same for hundreds of others by giving them access to additional educational resources through MErai and other voluntary initiatives.”
This mission has extended to other initiatives as well. Faridah occasionally volunteers her services as a Schulich Black Excellence Academy Leader and guest speaker, which allows her to help facilitate educational workshops and case competitions for BIPOC high school students in Toronto.
Faridah was named one of York University's 2023 Top 30 Alumni Under 30. Learn more about the program and the impressive young alumni on the list.