Over the last month since the tragic death of George Floyd we have seen riots across the world that have led many people to question their understanding of systemic racism. Many businesses including Netflix and Nike have committed to donating significant funds to increase equality after acknowledging they could do more. It is not clear to those outside of the black community how some of these biases can manifest themselves in the workplace and one way you can educate yourself is to follow outspoken business people who are doing great work to level the playing field. Below are a handful from a range of different industries:
Bio: Davis is an Angel Investor and Founder of 10×10 – a group of black founders and investors in the UK. He invests at pre-seed on Atomico’s angel programme focused on diverse and black founders.
Oredein is the founder of Black Ballad, a UK based platform that tells the human experience through the eyes of black British women. Since 2017 the company has commission over 150 black femal creatives and worked with brands including Financial Times and Waterstones.
Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE
Bio: Imafidon is the founder of Stemettes, a social enterprise which encourages girls aged 5–22 to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Prior to founding Stemettes she worked at institutions including Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Hewlett-Packard and graduated from Oxford University with a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science at 20 years old.
Bio: Ayim is the founder of The Angel Investing School and consults organisations on how to build Product teams that work. He was the Managing Director of Backstage Capital, and has worked in a range of product roles in companies such as Investec Bank and WorldFirst.
Bio: Recognised in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2020, Bajela is a Founding Member and Principal at Impact X Capital, a UK based venture capital fund founded to invest in companies predominately led by black and female entrepreneurs.
Bio: Adoasi is the founder of Vitae London. Vitae translates to life and each Watch sold supports a child’s life by providing key resources for education. Their Watches are owned by the likes of Richard Branson, Ava DuVernay & the President of Ghana.
Sharmadean Reid MBE
Bio: Reid is the Founder and CEO of Beautystack, a beauty professional booking app with a big emphasis on social. The company is backed by Index Ventures and Localglobe. Prior to Beautystack Sharmadean founded globally renowned salon WAH Nails.
Bio: Sofoluke is the founder of The UK Black Business Show, an annual conference and exhibition highlighting and promoting businesses founded by people from the black community. The 2019 show had over 2,500 attendees and 110 businesses from across Europe and Africa.
Bio: Tefula is a Principal at Downing Ventures investing in Seed to Series A companies that are building the future. Michael is also a 3-time published author and a regular blogger as well as a team member at non-profit Diversity VC, which promotes diversity in venture capital.
Bio: Serunjogi is CEO & Founder of the Y-Combinator backed startup Business Score, which connects online businesses with 1000s of funding options. Previously a management consultant at McKinsey where he served third, public and private sector clients.
Bio: Recognised in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2019, Oniwinde, is the Co-Founder and CEO of BYP Network, a platform that connects black professionals to each other and corporations
Bio: Harrison is the founder and driving force behind Dope Black CIC, an educational and healing platform designed to improve the outcomes of black people. He also oversees a strategic consultancy called XYXX, which has a strong 6-figure income serving clients such as WPP, Omnicom, City Football Group, and Samsung
Bio: Angelides is an early stage investor at Samos Investments. Prior to joining the world of venture capital, she founded a social enterprise, Mums in Technology, which was the first child-friendly coding school in the UK and worked in the early stage team at Silicon Valley Bank.
Bio: Obeng is the founder of Foundervine, an award-winning social enterprise specialising in digital start-up and scale-up acceleration programs. Since launching in 2018, Foundervine has helped over 2,000 diverse, future leaders create, test and sustain enterprises.
Bio: Owusu-Sem is an Oversight Relationship Manager at Bank of Montreal Global Asset Management. He is also the founder of Success Talks which profiles some of the leading BAME individuals throughout the world and he also sits on the NatWest Advisory board for diversity where he helps the firm achieve their diversity targets.
Bio: Okenla is the Founder and CEO of YSYS (Your Startup, Your Story), a diverse startup community for founders, developers, creatives, and investors on a mission to make a difference. YSYS design and deliver entrepreneurial and employment programmes for diverse talent.
Bio: Ainsley is the Co-founder of Colorintech a UK non profit improving access, awareness and opportunities for ethnic minorities to enter the tech industry. Colorintech works with a number of the world’s leading tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft.
Bio: Hayden is a Co-Founder of GOODsoil VC, an early stage venture capital firm focused on underrepresented founders in Europe and Africa. Prior to founding GOODsoil VC Hayden co-founded award-winning modelling agency, Face4music.
Bio: Osunsade is the founder of Hustle Crew, a company focused on making tech more inclusive by consulting and designing training solutions for corporate partners. She is also the co-host of “Techish” a podast ranked in the top 20 tech list on Apple podcasts.
Bio: Sol is the creator of platform Refined Currency which provides information on debt, budgeting, saving and making money. She has also founded sister company Rich Girl Chronicles, a money accountability group for women looking to be empowered by their finances and hosts podcast “The Last Three Digits”.
Dr Tunde Okewale MBE
Bio: Okewale is the founder of charity Urban Lawyers, a multi-media education and information centre designed to educate, engage and stimulate discussion amongst young people about their attitudes towards criminal law. He is also a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers with a practice focusing on general and serious crime.
Bio: Friday is the founder of Healu, a health tech company based in Trinidad whose vision is to bridge the gap between healthcare professionals and patients via personalised care, powered by data in emerging markets. He previously worked in medical insurance and also eCcommerce with Net-A-Porter.
Bio: Johnson is the Head of Marketing, Global Business Solutions for Europe at TikTok leading a function that consists of a Creative Lab, B2B Marketing and Comms, Brand Strategy and Creator Monetisation.
Trevor joined TikTok from Facebook which he joined in 2008 as one of their first employees outside of the US and most recently held the role of Director of Instagram, EMEA.
Bio: Daniella is a 22 year old Cambridge graduate and outspoken beauty entrepreneur who runs a YouTube blog discussing topical issues around equality and how to excel academically. She has been featured in a number of publications such as Channel 4 News and The Guardian and has been credited with making a significant contribution to black applicants to Cambridge University rising by 50% between 2018 and 2019.
Bio: Armoo is the CEO of Fanbytes a multi-award winning influencer marketing agency that helps the world’s most innovative brands win Gen Z customers on social media through TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube.
This article is part of a series featuring underrepresented people making a difference. You can find more articles (click here) and if you have a story to tell or want to be updated as soon as new features are released get in touch via Twitter @TommyASC91
The purpose of this blog is to share honest stories of diverse, underrepresented people doing great work which can hopefully inspire others to take action. Outside of writing I have started and help build eCommerce businesses for which I was included in Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2017. Prior to this I worked in Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs and graduated from Oxford University where I studied Economics & Management.