Mursal Hedayat – Founder and CEO of Chatterbox

This post originally appeared in the old founders parade and was authored by Brian Ham on Feb 4th 2020. I found the story quite inspiring and thought it deserved new life in the updated Founders Parade

Mursal Hedayat – Founder and CEO of Chatterbox

Mursal Hedayat is an award-winning entrepreneur with a unique story and motivation for creating her company Chatterbox. Originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, she arrived in the UK as a refugee at the age of 3 with her mom, who was a civil engineer. As she grew up, she began to realize that her mother, who held an advanced university degree from Kabul University, was consistently unemployed or underemployed in her new home, and not being afford the opportunities that should have come easily with her experience and education. This eventually led Mursal to found Chatterbox as a way to provide talented refugees with employment opportunities. A key line for the company’s vision is  “an enterprise created for refugees, by refugees”. This company is an example of “social entrepreneurship” and the founder’s aim is to both make a profitable business and to improve the lives of the refugees that are employed as language teachers by the company.

Chatterbox is an online language learning platform, primarily aimed at organizations but also available to universities and individuals. They provide personalized language coaching for that is tailored and customized for the specific needs of the learners in that organization. The select group of language experts are unique in that they are refugees themselves, and are applying their skills, knowledge in their native tongue to provide language learning services. In fact, the company currently supports 12 languages (Arabic, Bengali, French, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Persian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu), which may seem like a missed opportunity but it is actually by design, for the languages supported are directly related to the skillset of the small group of refugee language experts.

This founder and company resonated with me because they are trying to make it easier for refugees to integrate into their new communities, while also providing them with a living wage and a sense of pride.   As a person of color who grew up in a low-income area of Toronto, I have known, worked with and became friends with numerous  people who were children of refugees or even refugees themselves. Many of my friends  had parents were put in positions where they had to take employment in service industries such as cab driving in order to make ends meet when the skills and education that they acquired in foreign countries was not recognized here in Canada. Chatterbox seems to be doing their small part in trying to change the refugee experience and to make it more positive, which is something that I can get behind.

( Average Rating: 4.5 )

2 responses to “Mursal Hedayat – Founder and CEO of Chatterbox”

  1. johannes dirk wielenga

    Mursal Hesayat does indeed seem to be a valuable role model for future entrepreneurs. She grew up with a mother who was well educated and trained, yet couldn’t find employment in her field – Mursal chose to dedicate her time to helping other immigrants who find themselves in similar situations.

    Already here we see a person who has exhibited excellent entrepreneurial attributes – she went ahead and created a venture that has the specific goal of generating social value for those who need it most. In this sense she is a true disruptor! On top of this, she has generated intellectual property which, while not necessary, is nonetheless an excellent endeavor for an entrepreneur and helps to make the case that Mursal should indeed be seen as a role model. Finally, she has decided to stay with the company she started, which is pretty rare, and possibly shows us her commitment and belief in her venture. It will be interesting to see what she does next with Chatterbox, or to see if she branches off to start new ventures.

    ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  2. tara davis

    Hello Adrian,

    Thank you for “introducing” me to the founder of Chatterbox. I full-heartedly believe that the Founder represents a strong role model for would-be entrepreneurs as she has sought to solve a problem that was authentic to her life experience and is unfortunately experience by many throughout the word. This has probably made her all the more equipped to connect with her staff and her customers on a truly human empathetic level. I truly appreciate the tag-line, “an enterprise created for refugees, by refugees”. It reminds me of MOSAIC, a not for profit organization with a goal to help immigrants and refugees: My mother and I used to volunteer at a similar organization in D.C., where my other taught Engish to Arabic immigrants in exchange for practicing her Arabic with another immigrant who spoke Arabic. This is how I was first exposed to learning Spanish and how my sister was first exposed to learning Arabic. I love how Chatterbox has cultivated that safe place and has built relationships via an online platform.

    ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.