From volunteering to running my own business
Davis Kuma studied Electrical and Electronics Engineering and made the most of his university experience by taking the opportunity to volunteer at Fablab, Coventry University’s community maker-space. He learnt about customer relationships and different cultures, which has all helped him in starting up his own enterprise.
“One of the most impactful volunteering opportunities for me was facilitating IT and internet skills training with migrants in the city through FabLab’s MiFriendly Cities project. At my first session I found there was a language barrier, however this was soon overcome by changing my communication style and using lots of visuals and practical examples. My facilitating confidence grew, we managed to get tasks done well and participants found the sessions really helpful. It really opened up my eyes to Coventry as a diverse city and I am delighted I could help with what I considered a basic skill but to others was a new skill that opened many doors in their lives.
FabLab also has an array of equipment from laser cutters, to 3d printers, plus a wood crafting area, all of which are accessible for students and the community. I later started helping to teach people how to use the machinery and making design suggestions, tapping into my engineering knowledge from my course. This allowed me to give back and be creative, exploring my own ideas and also helping the local community with theirs.
My favourite part of volunteering with the Fablab was building community relationships, Fablab is a place people come to feel welcome and ask for help. As more people came through the door asking for my engineering skills to fix things, it taught me the first steps of dealing with customers and committing to deliver in a timely manner. The understanding of these skills is what has helped me to develop good customer relationships for my own scooter logistics company, which I run today. Fablab gave me the insight, knowledge and confidence to use what I had learnt volunteering to start my own businesses and for that I will be forever grateful.”