Imagine Forest - Safia Begum

Imagine Forest – Safia Begum

Imagine Forest by Safia Begum makes writing fun for kids by using technology to engage them in the art of story telling to improve their creative skills.

Imagine Forest helps strengthen children’s literacy skills from a young age by using virtual adventure mini-games to learn the secrets of writing stories. 

Safia’s vision is to encourage children to take up more writing and reading activities in a world where non-educative video games are increasingly becoming popular than reading a book. 

“My creativity inspired me to become an entrepreneur “

“Children’s books have always been a great source of influence for me throughout my life and I knew from a young age that my actions will reflect my future success.

I didn’t really have solid influence or role-model in my family while growing up so I learnt to take control of my own life.

There were times when I needed some motivation to continue and I found that reading a good book can really inspire and reassure you that things can change.

I loved reading books by Dr. Seuss as a young child and my favourite is ‘Oh The Places You’ll Go‘ – It sends an important message to anyone, young or old, that they have the power to take their life in any direction they want and achieve success.

Imagine Forest - Safia Begum
Example of a mini-game on Imagine Forest.

Imagine Forest is a creative writing virtual world for kids, between 4 to 12 years old, where they create a character and go on a virtual adventure to learn the secrets of story-telling.

Imagine Forest - Safia Begum
Safia Begum pictured at a Kickstart competition.

They earn virtual coins by writing their own stories, sharing them with other groups, completing quests and playing mini games.

Their coins can then be used to upgrade their character and become the best in the land of Imagine Forest.

The overall goal for Imagine Forest is to make writing fun for children and the best way of doing this is by using games to motivate children to write stories.

I felt that in today’s world, where technology seems to be taking over kids’ lives, these activities seem to be getting lost – Children would rather play video games than actually read a book.

So I decided that the best way to keep stories alive is to mix technology and games to motivate kids to continue telling stories or reading.

Imagine Forest - Safia Begum
An online virtual library on Imagine Forest.

I studied business and management at Aston University and being there really brought out the entrepreneur in me.

I was surrounded by ambitious people who were driven by success and this motivated me to be more than just average.

I took part in many societies, competitions and enterprise workshops, while at university, to develop myself – This helped me to explore my options because I didn’t want to be part of any graduate schemes or work in a big company after graduation.

These enterprise workshops inspired me to join the BSEEN programme after graduating in 2015, which supports students to turn their enterprising ideas into reality. 

Imagine Forest - Safia Begum
A drawing of Marty – one of the characters on Imagine Forest.

As a child, I loved exploring my creativity whether it was through drawing, writing or creating little paper dolls/animals.

My creativity inspired me to become an entrepreneur because I wanted to be free to develop my ideas the way I wanted to, without others changing them. 

My biggest difficulty has always been my shyness. But I found, in business, that sometimes this is not always good when you’re trying to sell people your idea at networking events or to possible investors.

Imagine Forest - Safia Begum
Examples of Illustrations to help children read.

My future goal for Imagine Forest is to become the number one player in the children’s online market and to have it endorsed by key players in the educational and story-telling market, such as schools, teachers, authors and bloggers.

I hope Imagine Forest can one day compete on the same level as other popular children’s websites such as Club Penguin or Moshi Monsters.

I think the best part of running your own business is making the final decisions on all the elements from design to management style.

Giving you complete creative control.”