Born in the countryside of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, Francine Mendonça started her successful journey in the United Kingdom in 1997 and 4 years later, she founded LondonHelp4U.
Today Francine is the company’s Executive Director, makes all the strategic decisions, leads 10 employees and maintains contact with the public. Francine acts as an Immigration Consultant for more complex cases and continues to meet clients daily.
Upon arriving in London, Francine realized that there was no one in the London Brazilian community giving correct information, in a structured way, to Brazilians who wished to stay in the UK legally. As she always liked to assist people, she thought: Why not do something concrete that could really help people?
It was then that she started looking at the immigration side. At the time, as a student, she needed help applying for a visa and couldn’t find any professional to turn to. “There was no Brazilian lawyer at the time, no one who was organized, to give immigration advice here in the United Kingdom,” she recalls.
After applying for her own visas, Francine started helping friends who needed support with their application. During this eureka moment, the idea of setting up a company was born.
After 3 months she launched LondonHelp4u, the government changed the immigration system in the UK and a license was needed to be able to work in this field and advice people. A year passed by before Francine obtained the necessary certification and, during this period, she gave free advice and earned commission from schools where students bought courses.
Francine Mendonça founded LondonHelp4u in 2001.
“My intention has always been to help people with correct information so that they can achieve their goals and dreams. This is so strong that it reflected in the construction of the brand and the choice of the name ”, explains Francine.
LondonHelp4u is a pioneer in the immigration market for Brazilians in the United Kingdom, with extensive experience and success in delivering services. Quality control has always been a huge differential, including the achievement of the ISO 9001 certificate in 2019, with a focus on customer service.
In this trajectory, Francine has always sought to facilitate the client’s life as much as possible. From offering as much information as they need to allow payment instalments.
LondonHelp4u definitely wins in the market for the quality of service and how the customer is served and cared for by the company’s team.
“I thought about giving up several times! It was very difficult in the beginning. I was a foreigner (I still am!), I did not speak the language fluently when I set up the company and loads of competitors appeared along the way, ” she confesses.
LondonHelp4u has several overcoming stories that happened during these two decades. At a certain point, a competitor trademarked the company’s name. For two years – with no money to pay for a lawyer – Francine struggled to prove that she had been trading with the brand for so many years and made it clear that LondonHelp4u was her property!
As an entrepreneur, Francine understands that when you enter the market, many see that business succeed, which can make some issues more difficult.
With the foundation of LondonHelp4u, Francine Mendonça knew that people needed help to apply for visas and was fully aware that she had an entire market in her hands, after all, it was possible to help any immigrant.
In the beginning, in addition to immigration consultancy, Francine also offered English courses, had partnerships with companies to recruit Brazilians, among other things. This way she was able to understand what the market needed. After that, the customers themselves started to bring new products, according to their needs.
Citizenship, for example. It was common for a client to arrive at the office saying that he needed help for Italian citizenship, but that he could not find any professional in Italy. That was when Francine studied the new market and found a good Italian lawyer to partner with LondonHelp4u.
“So, if you know your product, never fail to understand the needs of the market and invest in marketing, the challenges will be successfully overcome,”