Imerson’s story starts at the young age of 26 when he left home in the West Africa’s Ivory Coast. He emigrated to London as a student to pursue his higher education. Back then, completing a course was a condition for migrants to be granted a British residency permit after graduation.
“My biggest accomplishment has been finishing my studies because it’s a part of you. It can’t be taken away from you. With it, you can go anywhere.”
Despite the struggles he faced living in a foreign country, Imerson passed all his exams, earned an MBA in Business Management, and landed a job as a hotel manager.
When asked where he found his relentless motivation to succeed against the odds, Imerson was quick to reveal it was thanks to Richard Branson’s autobiography.
“In life, you can succeed at anything when you put all of your trust and focus on achieving it.”
Family plays a central part in Imerson’s life. Once settled in London, he got married and had three children. They’re now nine, eleven, and sixteen.
Our guest’s voice fills with melancholy when he tells us how much he misses his father back home in the Ivory Coast.
“I’m lucky that my father is still alive. I send him money on my birthday.”
Although Imerson can only go back home once every two years, he’s happy that he can care for his father’s financial wellbeing from London. But our guest values something more enriching than money. He places a high value on human interactions that come from the heart.
“Everything here is about money”, asserts Imerson, with feelings of disappointment in today’s culture of endlessly chasing after wealth.“Today, the value of personal connection has been lost.”
Imerson reminds us of something we sometimes neglect – the value of picking up the phone and calling a loved one to find out how they are. This should be a habitual action, and carries more weight than just sending a check.
In life, you need to focus on what you want to be. I see friends who came from overseas who forget where they come from and their purpose for being in Europe, or anywhere. I tell my sister that life is not easy, but, if you really want what you want, you’ll get it. Many people who come here [and don’t succeed] have changed their mind. “
Despite having fled poverty and earned the right to stay as a permanent UK resident, Imerson has other plans. His big eyes light up and a smile beams from his face as he tells us about his bright future. Our guest plans to return to the Ivory Coast and invest in farming. He wants to grow cocoa and develop a rubber plantation. In fact, his business plans are already set in motion.
“At the moment, I have bought 15 acres of land for a rubber plantation.”
Imerson’s motivation to become an entrepreneur in his home country was spurred by the success of his friends who achieved the same. Like him, they emigrated from the Ivory Coast to for better professional training in their host country. They also built up the funds they needed to develop a flourishing business back in the Ivory Coast. Imerson is keen to follow in their footsteps and eventually retire there.
Ria is proud to help entrepreneurs like Imerson achieve their dreams of retiring back home with the financial freedom they’ve always wanted. Millions of migrants like him use money transfers to build a business abroad, setting the path for their eventual return and furthering their communities’ development. At Ria, we’re honored to help them in their journey, giving customers the possibility of bridging the distance between where they work and where their heart is.
To read more stories like Imerson’s, check out our The World We Share series.
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