How this Zimbabwean-born entrepreneur became the wealthiest Black woman in the UK

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Valerie Moran co-founded Prepaid Financial Services (PFS), which specializes in financial technology with her husband Noel Moran in 2008. Photo: Prepaid Financial Services/CNN
Valerie Moran co-founded Prepaid Financial Services (PFS), which specializes in financial technology with her husband Noel Moran in 2008. Photo: Prepaid Financial Services/CNN

Abu Mubarik

Valerie Moran was born into a family of five children. Originally from Zimbabwe, her parents were successful entrepreneurs.

Her mother was a beautician while her dad owned many businesses including a school uniform factory, bakery, and a property investment firm.

Besides her parents being entrepreneurs, several of her uncles and aunties were university professors and deans at universities. Education was highly promoted in her family.

She went to college to study COBOL/Fortran/C (programming language) and graduated to become a talented Systems Analyst.

While in Zimbabwe, there was no work for a Woman-In-Tech, so Valerie moved to London, she said in an interview with Anne Marie Ruby.

She co-founded Prepaid Financial Services (PFS), which specializes in financial technology with her husband Noel Moran in 2008. As a couple, they own 81.5 percent shares in the company. Valerie solely owns a 16.3 percent stake in the company.

She became the first employee of the firm, serving as its Implementation Project Manager after quitting her paid job. She managed to put the company on the global Regulated Financial Services map.

Today, her firm is one of the most successfully managed fintech organizations in the world, posting profits for 10 conservative years.

Valerie moved to London in 2003 when Zimbabwe went into recession. She now lives in Ireland with her husband Noel.

They are jointly worth $278 million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2020. In 2019, Valerie became the first and only Black woman in the top 1,000 people of The Sunday Times’ annual Rich List, which ranks Britain’s super-wealthy.

Valerie and her husband had started PFS at a kitchen table in London. In its first year of operation, PFS lost $43,000. They also unsuccessfully tried multiple ways to raise funds. They fell back on their savings to keep the company running.

They eventually landed a big client and moved into an office space at London’s Hanover Square. Their company is now operating in 25 countries, 12 years on. The firm, in 2018, posted a profit of $9.8 million, according to the Irish Times.

The company has also won multiple awards. It was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2017 by HRH Queen Elizabeth II and the British Government. In September 2019, the couple also won the Business of the Year Award from the European Business Awards.

Valerie told IdeaMensch that her typical working day lasts about 15 hours, from 9 am until midnight.

“During the working day, I spend time trying to catch up with Team Managers to help things move along, especially where they are waiting on decisions from me. After the normal working day, I then get time to catch up on emails and my own workload,” she said.

Her long working hours also tie with her work ethic of listening, learning, and accepting feedback. For aspiring entrepreneurs who want to be like her, Valerie said they should commit 100 percent to whatever they are doing.

“Work hard and give 100 percent to your work effort. Leave no stones unturned so that at least if you have to walk away you know you have given it your best shot,” she said. – Face2Face Africa

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