An entrepreneurial venture to support Portuguese and Spanish speaking communities

Fernanda Nauana (BA Management 2018) has always enjoyed helping others. She has, for as long as she can remember, been passionate about volunteering for different causes and supporting others to develop new skills that empower them to achieve their goals.  

For many years, University was not a financially viable option but when Fernanda moved to the UK and heard about Birkbeck the possibility to study became a clear reality. “I felt motivated again since I could study work and raise my child. Birkbeck was the opportunity I needed to accomplish one of my life goals of holding a university degree” 

While studying for her undergraduate degree in Management, Fernanda realised that many individuals from Portuguese and Spanish speaking communities were facing significant barriers in achieving their full potential due to challenges with the English language. Having spent time working with people to enhance their CV’s, develop interview skills and navigate setting up small businesses – she truly understood the obstacles they faced.  

With her experience and the business acumen she gained through her degree; she had the confidence to embark upon her entrepreneurial venture. In 2018 she founded the company now known as WonderWorkS, a social enterprise that specialises in providing support for Portuguese and Spanish speaking communities in the UK, delivering a range of services from career guidance, immigration support, and assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs. All with the overarching vision to support others – encouraging and empowering them to succeed. 

“Being a mother and working, I saw it as almost impossible to achieve a degree, however, thanks to Birkbeck I was able to not only study, but also to build the skills and the confidence to embark on my long time goal of working in social entrepreneurship. I feel personally and professionally accomplished and being able to use entrepreneurial skills to help and support others have been quite an adventure.”

Since establishing her company, Fernanda has seen a growing number of vulnerable families, women and children needing support from her service. The future of her work will focus on continuing to provide support for some of the most at-risk individuals, particularly families at risk of domestic violence, working closely with local services and charities to ensure that she can signpost appropriate help for those who face complex and challenging situations.