Celebrating the UK’s Black social entrepreneurs this Black History Month

During Black History Month, we recognise that there would be no British history without Black History. We want to use this month to spotlight some of the Black social entrepreneurs we know who are currently making history for the UK.

This year has been a confronting year for Britain, as institutions and the public come to understand Britain’s role in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, and how contemporary Britain has been built on this pain.

As a result of the British Empire’s actions both here and in the colonies, social issues affecting quality of life – such as access to work, education, food, social and health care, and so much more, are disproportionately and fatally affecting Black people in Britain.

During the pandemic, we’ve seen the effects of this in the way that 1 in 8 Black boys have been stopped and searched, Black people being 4x more likely to be COVID-19 fatalities and rates of unemployment amongst Black people being more than double that of people from White ethnic backgrounds (ONS 2020).

We have the data and the evidence, but where are the solutions? At UnLtd we strongly believe in those with lived experience being the ones to execute the solutions and want to highlight the Black social entrepreneurs doing just that.

These social entrepreneurs, listed below, are. Celebrating Black people is a year-round event, but we hope you enjoy our introduction to Black history-makers you may not yet know, but deserve your attention, support, and celebration.

UnLtd is an organisation which is constantly learning, prioritising how we can become truly anti-racist. Please join us in this learning by exploring the resources noted at the end of this list.

If you know of any other Black social entrepreneurs in the UK, please do share with us. And consider how you could buy Black-owned too on #BlackPoundDay - the first Saturday of every month.  

 


Anike Mlemchukwu, Lapapo

  • Lapapo is an online store and support service for parents or carers of children with additional needs, selling quality products curated by need, and a space for carers to support each other too.

Angela Steele, Opportunities with Experience

  • A training organisation for women and young adults wanting to work in construction.

Adesanmi Fasoro (Fash), Home Pointr

  • Scotland's first matching platform for affordable housing, allowing providers to match with applicants and referral agencies directly to address housing and information gaps

Arinola Araba, bMoneywize

  • An innovative educational solution to teaching young people financial literacy and numeracy skills to make debt-free choices and build stronger financial futures.

Arit Eminue, DiVA Apprenticeships

  • A leading independent provider of inclusive digital and media apprenticeships in London, helping hundreds of young people kickstart their careers within and beyond the creative sectors

Bejay Mulenga, Supa Network

  • A provider of business training programmes and experiential learning such as the Supa Campus, an online educational platform dedicated to upskilling and empowering young entrepreneurs and creatives from diverse backgrounds.

Bhishma Asare, Rap Therapy

  • A community interest company improving the mental health and creativity of students through rap-based activities and mentorship.

Cecil Adjalo, Foundervine

  • A social enterprise specialising in digital start-up and scale-up acceleration programs, helping young people from underrepresented communities imagine, start, and grow new ventures.

Chanje Kunda

  • A poet, playwright and performance artist. Chanje has devised and delivered creative workshops in universities, colleges, hospitals, prisons and arts centres.

Danna Walker, Built By Us

  • A social enterprise connecting underrepresented talent to construction businesses, supporting companies on their journey to becoming more inclusive workplaces, and nurturing diverse talent through mentoring.

Ebony Walters, Rose Tinted Financial Services

  • A social enterprise providing financial literacy services that take into account clients’ mental health and wellbeing, creating a safe space where women can be supported and talk about finances without judgement

Emilie Mendy, Bizziebodies

  • Bizziebodies aims to "facilitate social inclusion in multi-cultural societies" through a "wide range of creative workshops" for children, teaching different skillsets, languages, or techniques in school, office, or social settings

Erinma Ochu, FarmLab

  • A Manchester-based pop-up urban farming experiment, unlocking unused city spaces to support local residents to grow their own food.

Esther Sherato, Frontline Therapist

  • A social enterprise aiming to make psychological therapy accessible for Black and Asian Minority Ethnic individuals and all individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, with professionals who they can relate to.

Faith Johnson, Caramel Rock

  • A fashion and creative arts education charity providing training and opportunities for young people, “using fashion to connect the disconnected”. Listen to their podcast episode with Good Finance here.

Fatou Gassama, Holistic Support

  • A social enterprise based in Hackney committed to promoting parents’ well-being and inspiring them to achieve their professional goals, such as returning to or finding work, building confidence, or upskilling.

Genny Jones, Genny Jones Training

  • A social venture providing financial training services, as well as wellbeing workshops and programmes to demystify key financial concepts and principles for people running their own businesses.

Jake Henry, Vibe Youth

  • Vibe Youth provide support and personal development programmes for young people, through prevention and early intervention workshops or bespoke training to show youth positive pathways and transformation.

Janet Gray, Feed My Creative

  • A social enterprise reducing waste, promoting sustainability, building communities and inspiring creativity through craft workshops focused on using recycled fabric and materials.

Jasmin Hassan Bakhre, Women with Wings

  • A social venture helping people to take their first steps towards training employment or self-employment; the organisation provides a space where individuals can learn new skills, gain qualifications and start their own business.

Josh Babarinde, Cracked It

  • A phone repair service that is creating opportunities for vulnerable youth and ex-offenders to move towards employment, giving them skills, work opportunities, and support.

Julian Hall, Ultra Education

  • Providing entrepreneurial education in schools and clubs, with a focus on reaching children and young people in marginalised communities.

Julius Ibrahim, Second Shot Coffee

  • Coffee to invigorate more than just the drinker, Second Shot Coffee employ people who have been affected by homelessness, providing training and support to help them find long-term employment and stability.

Kayisha Payne, BBSTEM

  • A non-profit organisation campaigning for balance and representation of Black individuals in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Kelvin Summogum, MiiCare

  • Provider of AI-based digital health companion device and app, both of which help to encourage healthy ageing by enabling safer independent living for those in later life.

Kemi Folarin, Young People Matter

  • A charity providing affordable support services including breakfast and after-school clubs, half term and summer camps, youth services, intergenerational programmes (youth & older people), lone parenting aid, community outreach, youth clubs and more.  

Kisha Bradley, Brightbox Makerspace

  • A social enterprise creating inclusive spaces for children aged 7 to 11 to explore the world through play. By using their imaginations as a starting point, the educational play offers learning that can open up future pathways into technology, engineering, or the arts

Lynda McFarlane, Vegan Vybes

  • A Birmingham-based community platform for community engagement that enhances mental wellbeing and access to food through environmental and commercial activities, under a communal vegan philosophy.

Malvin Onu, Run Track Sports

  • A fitness, sports and activity brand for young people and young adults. Using his personal experiences in Walthamstow, Malvin is offering youth social support and an opportunity to get to know each other, with the goal of reducing crime and violence in the area

Mauva Johnson-Jones, Precious Wellbeing CIC

  • A social venture providing access to holistic counselling, creative therapy and mentoring for young people.

Marvet McAnuff, New Beginnings Creative CIC

  • A community-based hub providing employability support through mentoring, careers information, advice and guidance.

Michelle Omo Olaye, Karpos Development

  • A social venture providing tailored personal development experiences, offering life coaching, personal development, business strategy, and intrapersonal skills.

Natasha Benjamin, Free Your Mind CIC

  • Free Your Mind is the UK’s first support service for Child Victims of Domestic Violence, offering therapy and support to children witnessing family violence. Natasha’s work has seen children be included as victims in the Domestic Abuse Bill, and countless other campaigning wins to create safer homes for children.

Okela Douglas, Sister System

  • A charity bridging the gap between care-affected girls and mainstream society through holistic programmes that are user-shaped to deliver urgent empowerment and impact

Olubusuola Esheit, Optimalpath Consulting

  • A social venture bringing literacy to children and adults who learn English as second, foreign or additional language, based on the understanding that low English literacy can present a barrier to living in Western countries.

Samantha Browne, Diamond You

  • A success coach and motivational speaker who believes in the balance of mind, body and soul to create positive achievement fully within an individual. Samantha offers long-term coaching programmes, and a 4-week confidence programme as well.

Shabana Brou, Broutal Impact

  • Birmingham-based Broutal Impact are changing communities through fitness and healthy lifestyles. They offer services such as personal training, medical fitness, nutrition support, life coaching, wellbeing, and exercise programmes for rehabilitation – all with the end goal of creating a habitual healthy lifestyle.

Shamala Antonio, Impact4Life Wellbeing

  • A social venture delivering virtual and online health, fitness and wellbeing services to all ages and abilities, accessible from home, office, or the outdoors. Programmes are tailored to clients’ access needs, with the end goal of supporting adults and children to lead happier, healthier lifestyles.

Sharla-Jaye Duncan, The Intrapraneurs Club

  • The social enterprise has a five-year mission to create a community of 10,000 high-performing and diverse tech professionals in London. The community has access to a world-class accelerator programme, connections to employers, and the chance to instigate a cycle of social change by inspiring the next generation of underrepresented tech talent.

Siobhan Harper-Nunes, Shakti Women

  • A social venture providing personal, professional and business development services for women, in a space for women to re-focus on their own need. Shakti offers a holistic service to give clients the professional and personal knowledge and skills to support all women to achieve their full potential.

Stephen Addison, Box-up Crime

  • Stephen Addison has turned boxing into a tool to educate and develop young people, showing at-risk and vulnerable youth positive pathways that are realistic and building their futures safely. Based in East London, they have a Swiss franchise too, making incredible positive improvements to the lives of the youth they work with.

Tina Sylvia Simbo, Adorn CIC

  • A social enterprise making ethical jewelers and running creative classes and workshops to tackle social isolation and exclusion, in an ethical and sustainable way.

Veronica Gordon, Our Version Media CIC

  • The venture is increasing the positive and authentic representation of Southampton’s black communities by giving them the skills to tell and share their own stories, combatting misrepresentation and underrepresentation in mainstream coverage.

In the interests of expanding your understanding on Black history and how to dismantle anti-Blackness, please explore the following resources on the Black experience.

To read

We suggest buying your books from Black-owned booksellers such as New Beacon Books, Jacaranda Books, Round Table Books, Books of Africa, Sevenoaks Bookshop, Pepukayi Books, or No Ordinary Bookshop.

To listen

  • Intersectionality Matters! Hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw (podcast)
  • Momentum: A Race Forward (podcast)
  • About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge (podcast)
  • Good Ancestor with Layla F. Saad (podcast)
  • Say your Mind hosted by Kelechi Okafor (podcast)
  • The Diversity Gap hosted by Bethaney Wilkinson (podcast)
  • Over the Bridge (podcast)

To watch

YouTube

Channel 4

BBC iPlayer

Netflix:

  • 13th
  • When They See Us
  • Dear White People

Available to rent

  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
  • Selma
  • Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975

Resource Hubs to Follow/Subscribe to

"Black history can’t just be a specialist subject, a little clearing in the historical forest that only Black People want to go to and that is only about Black People. It’s the history of a relationship: some of it tragic, some of it more heart-warming; some of it extremely difficult and some of it – believe 
it or not – more optimistic. It’s a history that affects all of us: it is British history"

- David Olusoga

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