Each October, we celebrate Black History Month and the history of the African diaspora. In 2021, the theme here in the UK is “Proud to Be” so we decided to celebrate some of the fantastic black talents we have in the UK.
Here we share 11 black British entrepreneurs who make us proud!
- Darren Tenkorang- Trim-it
- Zuleyka Strasner – Zero
- Swiss – Black Pound Day
- Avila Diana Chidume – Avila.Diana
- Steven Bartlett – The Social Chain
- Sharmadean Reid MBE – The Stack
- Christian Facey and Wilfrid Obeng – Audiomob
- Shalize Nicholas – Madia & Matilda
- Timothy Armoo – Fanbytes
- Roni Savage – Jomas Associates
His business: The Uber for haircuts
Londoner Darren founded Trim-it in 2016 after winning £10,000 in a business competition. His app allows people to book a mobile hairdresser or barber to come to their home or workplace with a high-tech barbershop in a van. Earlier this year, Darren and his team raised $1.1 million so this business is definitely set to grow.
With plans to expand throughout the UK over the next few months, it’s likely we’ll start seeing Trim-it vans more frequently.
All photos credited to: Trim-it
Founder and CEO at Zero
Her business: A plastic-free grocery delivery service
Zuleyka is a British trans woman, who now resides in America. Her business was born out of seeing the plastic waste that was accumulating on beaches while on her honeymoon with her husband. When she returned to San Francisco, she embarked on a zero-waste lifestyle.
The more she explored America’s food supply chains, the more she realised that she needed to create a solution that got rid of plastic from this chain. Zero Grocery was born. Zero is America’s first plastic-free online grocery. Originally just in the Bay Area, the business has already expanded to LA.
Photo credited to: Zero
Musician, Author, & Founder of Black Pound Day
His business: A monthly campaign that encourages consumers to switch up their usual shopping habits and support local and online black-owned businesses
Black Pound Day is the most influential socio-economic movement in the UK and Europe. It provides an online marketplace and directory for people to buy from businesses that are black-owned.
Swiss started his career as a member of the UK garage ensemble, So Solid Crew, and now with his organisation seeks to address the economic imbalances faced by black businesses and entrepreneurs.
Black Pound Day takes place on the first Saturday of every month and is a solution-based approach to growing the black economy in Europe.
Photo credited to: Swiss via Instagram
Avila Diana Chidume
Founder of Avila.Diana
Her business: A design-led business that provides designs that represent BAME people
Avila.Diana was created because representation matters. That’s why its products, including greeting cards and mugs, represent underrepresented groups such as BAME, LGBT+ and disabled communities.
Avila.Diana has featured in a number of magazines and publications, and the founder Avila even featured in the music video for Pharrell Williams’ song Entrepreneur (ft. Jay Z).
Photo credited to: University of Southampton
Founder of Social Chain
His business: A social media marketing agency
It’s hard to ignore Steven Bartlett who earlier this year was named the youngest ever dragon on Dragon’s Den.
Dropping out of University at 18, Steven set up his first business Wallpark, a social network for students, and in late 104, at just 22 Stephen founded Social Chain. 5 years later, Bartlett took the business public with a £300 million valuation. Stepping down as CEO at the end of 2020, Steven is now the founder of Catena Capital.
As well as being an entrepreneur Steven is also a Sunday Times Best Seller and hosts the No.1 European Business Podcast, “Diary of a CEO”.
Steven may have stepped down as CEO of Social Chain but the company is still thriving. See the latest roles here.
All photos credited to: Social Chain
Sharmadean Reid MBE
Founder & CEO of The Stack
Her business: Creating spaces for intelligent, ambitious women who see themselves as infinite learners with insatiable curiosities
Sharmadean Reid is a serial British-Jamaican entrepreneur. She started a hip-hop magazine for girls, WAH, while still at university in 2006. She later founded WAH Nails in 2009. By 2015, she was awarded an MBE for her services to Beauty and Women.
In 2018, she founded Beautystack which used social media to connect beauty service providers with paying customers. In 2021, Beautystack pivoted and became The Stack World, a social ecosystem for women to women services. Stack World curates content for women in beauty, wellness, business, culture, and society and has its own membership provision for exclusive events and networking.
Photo credited to: The Stack
Christian Facey and Wilfrid Obeng
Co-founders of Audiomob
Their business: An in-game advertising company
Mobile games need to monetise, but in-game adverts are intrusive. That’s why Christian Facey and Wilfrid Obeng founded Audiomob. Audiomob created in-game adverts that are audio-only, so they don’t impact gameplay. Founded right at the start of 2020, Audiomob has already raised £1.5 million.
Wilfrid is a Computer Science graduate and the company’s CTO, and previously worked at J.P.Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Google. Christian meanwhile is CEO and has a first-class degree in Business Studies. After graduating, he went on to work for the likes of Google and Facebook.
In 2021, Wilfrid and Christian were both named in the Forbes 30 under 30 list.
See yourself working with Wilfrid and Christian? Then check our site for roles at Audiomob.
Photo credited to: Audiomob
Founder of Madia & Matilda
Her business: A zero-waste luxury sustainable clothing brand
Shalize Nicholas was working with fashion retailers and designers after she graduated and realised that she had a passion for print and vintage fabric. In 2013, she launched Madia & Matilda which breathes new life into vintage and offcut fabric with exclusive designs.
Her eco-conscious business redesigns old garments and remnants and creates new designs using sustainable fabrics. Her pieces are stocked at international retailers including Silk Fred and ASOS Marketplace.
Earlier this year, Shalize launched a rental service that runs on a monthly subscription.
Photo credited to: Shalize Nicholas, Madia & Matilda
CEO and Co-Founder of Fanbytes
His business: A Gen-Z influencer marketing agency
Timothy sold his first media company at just 17. Now at 26, his company Fanbytes is one of the leading influencer marketing agencies in the UK. During the pandemic, it was Fanbytes who was employed by the UK Government to communicate with Gen Z via social media.
Timothy is also behind the UK’s first TikTok influencer house, called Bytehouse (Big Brother meets TikTok). The house has influencers living together under one roof and showcases diverse voices including BAME and LGBT+ young people. The project amassed more than 18 million fans.
If you’re interested in joining Timothy’s team then check out current vacancies here.
All photos credited to: Fanbytes
Founder and Managing Director at Jomas Associates
Her Business: An environmental surveyors and engineering company
Roni has a background as a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered Geologist, and a SiLC (Specialist in Land Condition). She set up her own business, Jomas Associates, after working in the industry for a number of years. Jomas undertakes site investigations, engineering, and environmental surveys on construction sites in the UK.
By 2017, Jomas was acknowledged as a high growth company and Roni attended the Said Business School, at the University of Oxford, for a business programme. As an expert business leader, she has even advised Lord Sugar on the BBC’s apprentice.
Savage acts as a mentor on a number of programmes as an advocate for diversity in leadership.
Photo credited to: Roni Savage, Jomas Associates
If you’ve been inspired by any of these entrepreneurs and are looking for a career change, or your next step on the ladder, then check our site for the latest jobs.