Many of my peers went into banking and consulting, whilst I embarked on a year of placements with various charities (much to the bemusement of my Nigerian parents!). I secured an internship with CAFOD (the Catholic NGO), where I created a student campaigns strategy. However, I quickly developed serious misgivings about a sector raising money in the name of people in the global south, but rarely employing them in leadership positions.
After this I joined the Race Equality Council in Lewisham, running empowerment activities for Black youth! We also did casework with many people who were broken in different ways by encounters with racism. From mothers fighting the unfair exclusion of a black child to high flying civil servants left disillusioned by their unfair dismissal. Unfortunatley, often our hands were tied as we were always under-resourced and too busy chasing funding.
For around 9 years I have run my own social enterprise which has been reasonably successful raising funding and delivering heritage and community projects. I’ve also gained experience on the boards of national charities whilst dabbling in a various commercial ventures. My latest venture is developing a natural energy drink, launched in September! I am excited to move away from chasing funding streams. My goal is to build strong business and financial base, from which I can fund the social endeavours I’m passionate about. Follow us on the journey!
I am a strong believer that Black History has to be more than just a month! Yet my feeling is that there remains a place for a time of the year to focus our minds on increasing awareness of a section of British and global history that is badly neglected. As funding for this agenda has been cut back it is up to all of us hold our schools, colleges, universities and places of work accountable for maximizing the opportunities it brings.
Phillip Udeh, BSc is a London School of Economics (LSE) graduate with charity, social enterprise and commercial start- up experience!
Philip has created Brain Füd- The Smarter Energy Drink (www.brainfud.co.uk), which will launch on Ocado early in October 2018!