Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Saluting our Sisters

Monday 16 October

This event takes place in the British Library and will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person, or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.

According to the British Business Bank’s research, there’s a concerning disparity among business owners: Black entrepreneurs report a median turnover of £25,000 per year after launching their ventures, which is over a third lower than their white counterparts. Notably, more than a third (37%) of Black women business owners reported making no profit last year, compared to 16% of White male business owners.

While almost 30% of the Black population engages in the ideation, establishing or managing of business ventures, only 3% identify as actively running a start-up. This data underscores concerning trends in the business landscape that may affect budding Black entrepreneurs’ ability to fully realise their visionary aspirations.

Though many are facing barriers, minority ethnic businesses contributed a staggering £25 billion to the UK economy in 2018. To honour this significant contribution, and celebrate Black History Month, we’re excited to present this event, dedicated to the achievements of Black businesses owned by women.

Our panel consists of five inspiring business experts and entrepreneurs from the Black British community. Among them, one, Christelle achieved a staggering £20 million turnover with her previous business Grass-fields, another Lois who spearheads the award-winning businesss Saint Aymes which consistently draws celebrity endorsement and another Ifey manages a food business Chuku’s that secured investment from the foundation owned by renowned music artist Beyoncé.

Coming together in a red table style discussion, these visionary women will discuss the realities of building a business as a Black woman. Our panel will discuss how their own journeys have shaped their perspectives, how the landscape has evolved and where it’s going and how they have helped their businesses weather the increasing costs and challenges of the past few years.

Sources

Alone together: Entrepreneurship and diversity in the UK – British Business Bank

New report reveals the obstacles holding back UK’s ethnic minority entrepreneurs | FSB, The Federation of Small Businesses

Speakers include:

Fisayo Longe, founder and CEO of Kai Collective

Fisayo Longe is the founder of Kai Collective, a London-based community brand of attainable luxury clothing, intentionally crafted for ultimate confidence. Kai Collective make unique thoughtful pieces that fill the gap for statement high-quality pieces that don’t break the bank, and inspire customers to take up space and reject societal limitations.

Ifeyinwa Frederick, Co-founder of Chuku’s

Ifeyinwa is a playwright, screenwriter and co-founder of Chuku’s – the critically acclaimed world’s first Nigerian tapas restaurant. Starting Chuku’s without any hospitality experience, she has gained a reputation as an industry pioneer and has been featured in Forbes’ list of 100 Female Founders in Europe. In 2021 she was named one of the most influential women in hospitality and was winner of the 2019 Young British Foodie Awards in the food sharing category. Under her leadership, Chuku’s has secured coverage in the UK from VogueBBC Radio 4 and Financial Times amongst others and is regularly featured in international press. Having opened the restaurant just four and a half weeks before the first lockdown, Ifeyinwa’s branding and communications strategy has helped the restaurant to survive the pandemic and its after effects.

Christelle Nganhou, Content Marketing Strategist

Christelle Nganhou is an entrepreneur in the E-commerce space, she started her business, Grass-Fields with just £50 solely relying on the power of social media and content marketing. The business grew to become the world’s biggest African fashion brand online, generating over £20M in revenue. Christelle is a strong advocate for women in business and is on a mission to support other women to believe in themselves enough to reach their full potential.

Leanne Pero, Founder of Black Women Rising

Leanne Pero MBE is a multi- award- winning social entrepreneur, speaker, author, model and breast cancer survivor. She set up her first social enterprise The Movement Factory when she was just 15 years old, since then she has successfully fundraised over half a million pounds to run community dance programs all over London.

After being diagnosed with Breast Cancer In 2016 at the age of 30 Leanne then set up her charity Black Women Rising that is now 4 years old and helps over 500 women of colour in the UK living with cancer. Leanne is also the self-published author of ‘Take Control’ released in 2016- a self-help book, aimed at 18–30-year-olds and her most recent title ‘The Positive Day Planner’, another self-help planning book, sold out within the first week!

Moderated by:

Jen Scott, Founding Partner of Hustle and Heels

Jen Scott is the Founding Partner of Hustle & Heels , a Business Community and Consultancy for start-ups and small businesses. Working with local Government Authorities and a range of public and private organisations, Jen’s team specialises in crafting and delivering programs that empower business owners for growth. Hustle & Heels has trained 5,000+ small business owners across 12 London Boroughs and nurtured a thriving online community of 20,000+ individuals dedicated to business improvement over the past 8.5 years.

Jen is known for her infectious energy, impact-driven and her creative, strategic approach to consultancy, she’s is passionate about the economic empowerment and advancement of small business owners with a particular interest in helping women and those from underrepresented backgrounds.

For those joining us in person, the event will be followed by a networking reception with drinks, canapés, meeting with other attendees, as well as the speakers. For those joining us online, the panel and talk will run from 18.30 – 20.30.

Half price tickets available for British Library Members, students, under 26s and other concession groups.

If you’re attending in person, please arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start time of this event.

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