• College On Tap

Interview With Founder of Black Geographers

This past week, College On Tap was able to connect with the Founder of Black Geographers, Francisca Rockey. Her business is relatively new, but she has dove right into her work and hasn't looked back since. Her work is blending her passions of social activism and geography to encourage more black students to learn about geography. We are super excited that she was able to be featured on College On Tap, and hope you enjoy reading more about it!

Provide a general overview of the business/ What is it all about?

Our company aims to tackle the erasure of black people in geography by providing a platform for us to network and connect. We also offer low cost or free tutoring for GCSE and A-Level geographers, mentoring for under-postgraduates and an outreach programme, during term time, to increase the uptake of geography at GCSE and A-Level.

What made you want to start a business?

It all started with a tweet, ‘I wish geography, environmental science and related subjects were most diverse. I’m the only black girl on my course and I know it’s the same at other universities across the country’ from here, I created the name ‘Black Geographers’ (BG) and started looking into the reasons why numbers of black people in Geography were low.

Following a discussion with Eden Lunghy (a fellow black geographer and BG’s marketing officer), we found that a way to tackle this would be to ‘decolonise’ the curriculum, encourage uptake at GCSE/A Level by increasing awareness of career prospects within and outside of Geography and more representation of black geographers in the different areas of geography.

How has it been balancing a business and college life?

I started Black Geographers in April while under lockdown so I haven’t had to juggle it with university yet but I imagine when I go back in September or October, it will require a lot of time management and I’ll need to employ more staff to decrease my workload and keep things running smoothly.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge has been detaching myself from my work. I feel guilty when I’m out with my friends and I’m being a “normal 20 years old” but I’m allowed to step away from my desk, my business isn’t my whole life and I deserve breaks.

What has been the most fun?

Working with fellow Black Geographers and engaging with geographers from all over the world. We hosted a virtual hangout via Zoom at the end of July and hearing the experiences of other black geographers was so comforting and we had a good laugh about the geography stereotypes e.g. all you do is colour maps.

What is your advice to other college students who want to start a business?

My top 3 tips to other college students who want to start a business.

  1. Have a plan. You don’t need a perfect plan but a rough idea of what it is you want to do and how you’re going to do it.

  2. Get help. Find people who share your passion and can help make your dream a reality

  3. Schedule time out. It can be very tempting to live and breathe your business and forget to take a break, to avoid burnout schedule time away from your desk and time to do things, outside of the business that brings you joy e.g. rollerskating, reading a book, painting (my fave), baking. Anything that’s not related to your work.

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