The HL BaSE practice has for 10 years been working with the leading innovators and disrupters in the social economy space. Through our work we have supported 500 businesses but importantly, we have seen so many of these ground-breaking business set the standard for the business community – providing challenge and example in their implementation of ESG at the core of their work.

Yasmin Waljee OBE

Taking the challenge Lord Hasting’s has presented, we have pledged to support Black and minority led business and seek to profile the talent and innovation which is often overlooked and certainly, under-financed and under-supported.

With that in mind we invite colleagues across the profession to join us in supporting Black and minority led business by offering their expertise to these organisations and supporting diversity in entrepreneurship. We recently commissioned Bayo Adelja, from social enterprise Do it Now Now, to help us design programmes that are genuinely inclusive. Of the many, thoughtful suggestions she made was her encouragement that we should take time to learn about the lived experiences of our clients.

Certainly, by putting this into practice, we believe we are creating a better service for our clients.

Yasmin Waljee <span>OBE</span>

Yasmin Waljee OBE

Introduction from Lord Dr Michael Hastings CBE, Chair of Black Business Institute

Being old enough to remember Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, to have met Mandela and Obama. I’ve been there – I’ve seen it. We must again build alliances that will empower freedom to have genuine equity of opportunity and solid governance and investable resources.

Lord Dr Michael Hastings CBE

I was embroiled in the aftermath of the 1981 and 1985 and 22 city riots working with the then-government - Margaret Thatcher's team - to bring healing and building alliances between angry black communities and funders eager to build back better and prevent more destructive turbulence through employment and innovation and cohesion schemes. It worked - for then. It was right - for then.

It didn't heal the wound - although it helped.

Turning to 2020 one of the darkest moments for many of us was the violent slaughter of George Floyd in plain public sight, and the easy slippage of his killers to bail, paid freed whilst a family are manacled in trauma. Then one of the bright luminous moments was to study the long life of a man we just lost – civil rights leader and Congressman John, who said "To create a covenant with yourself that you will conjoin with others in meaningful, purposeful, unrelenting acts of justice, irrespective of your job or position or all you don't have. To find moments that build a movement. To give time to lift the "less than" and to exemplify the real heroes in our communities".

Real heroes like Patrick Hutchinson, who stunned the world by picking up a white man manifesting racist aggression, yet fallen and wounded. Patrick lifting him across his shoulder to take him to safety stunned the world.

Our communities need to be full of stunning people. We need to shock the world by being the most engaged, the most relentless, the most professional, the most loving, the most persistent, the most generous.

For me, I joined the then Commission for Racial Equality serving nine years as a commissioner in the era after the death of Stephen Lawrence, when we fought for Macpherson whose report laid bare the ugly truths which changed law. But that took work. Not protests. Work.

We must build alliances that will empower freedom to have genuine equity of opportunity and solid governance and investable resources. That's why I lead the London Chamber of Commerce and Industries Black Business Association and the newly formed Black Business Institute —it is why we build alliance working with Hogan Lovells where we collectively see the significance of investing in long-term asset. We need more than a moment's outpouring in response to events. There is inordinate Black talent and creative energy represented in the examples of social innovators highlighted in the following pages. If we are able to collective give this talent, profile, resources, access to networks and reinforce their ambition – we will build a longer lasting movement for impact.

Lord Dr Michael Hastings <span>CBE</span>

Lord Dr Michael Hastings CBE

Chris Otokito

Amani Simpson

Justin Finlayson

Bayo Adelaja

Stephen Addison

Tolúlọpẹ́ Ògúnrẹ̀mí

Chris Otokito

Co-Founder of UTCAI

United To Change And Inspire (UTCAI) is an organisation that works to bring people together. It is united in strength to overcome injustice and prejudice and champion equality for all. It sees itself as a bridge to advise, consolidate and give a stronger voice to marginalised groups. It aims to change past narratives and bring forth fairness and equal opportunities in the education, business and justice system, as well as the corporate, creative and sports industries.

Q

What inspires you to do what you do?

A

My family inspires me and consists of my 3 bambinos, my lady of 18 years, my parents, three siblings and any positive being in my network. Life is an amazing blessing!

Q

What do you want to see change?

A

The world is filled with far too many bright people for us to still have the problems we have today. 

We have to authentically want to make spaces for and align with forces that enable the existence of the creatives, intellectuals, heart-led, emotionally intelligent and courageous beings who are not afraid to see the new world that’s on the horizon. We need to unify and share our varieties of wealth and technology and be conduits of positive change primarily within ourselves and in then others. 

We have to be confident in our own abilities to do the right thing, to always retain freedom and uphold our rights to integrity. 

That no amount of money or kind of relationships compromise our abilities to make decisions that are just money based, but instead are moral, ethical, and right. This can hopefully enable us to evolve morally, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, ethically, physically, technologically, environmentally and financially. 

Q

One lesson for people thinking about starting their own enterprise / organisation?

A

"Follow your heart, it always seems impossible till its done - and a key to success is to start before you’re ready”

"Always deliver more than expected and chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you."

Amani Simpson

AVIARD inspires

Created using the words AVIATE meaning to fly and HARD meaning to be solid and resistant to pressure.

Aviard Inspires exist to empower young people to elevate their minds for success through Personal Development, Digital Media and Enrichment Experiences.

Q

What inspires you to do what you do?

A

I’m inspired by the next generation. I see so much talent in young people, it gives me hope for the future! However, there is also a lot of untapped potential that is lost every day because young people often do not see how great they can be and don’t know how to unlock the greatness they possess. I see my purpose now as being all about helping young people access the tools and knowledge that can make them great. Shining a light on what is achievable and debunking the myths that will steer people away from taking the wrong path. Ultimately, I want to inspire others by being the person I needed to see or know about when I was younger.

Q

What do you want to see change?

A

I really want to see narratives change for and about young people by taking ownership of it, especially those from challenging backgrounds. Too often labels and limitations are put on what is possible for them and I want mindsets, attitudes and indeed hearts to shift towards finding solutions instead. I want to see people and communities coming together to inspire and support each other. I live by two key sayings for both society and the young people themselves, first, “It takes a village to raise a child” and secondly “if your mind can go there your feet can follow”.

Myself and many other community heroes are working hard to empower the young people of our society, what can you do to empower someone else? 

Q

One lesson for people thinking about starting their own enterprise / organisation?

A

Can I give you one lesson in two key areas - personal and business. On a personal level - Always be yourself, be authentic, stay in your lane and run your own race. Hone your craft and avoid comparisons. Instead, focus on serving as many people as you can to the best of your ability.

On a business level - DATA IS KEY! Being able to quickly access your network, track your impact and evaluate engagement is so vital. Invest in a good CRM and sales software that will allow you to stay in control as our business grows. There are lots of great free options and workarounds if you have a limited budget initial but as soon as possible invest in a robust system.

Justin Finlayson

United Borders

United Borders provides services to young people who find themselves in moments or periods of crisis in their lives. They offer a wrap-around provision has a rapid and sustainable impact on each young person’s wellbeing and on their ability to take ownership of their own positive pathways moving forwards. Music is there main pathway to engagement as young people can express themselves, talk about the topics that they are normally excluded from and take ownership of their own futures.

Q

What inspires you to do what you do?

A

Experience inspires me to do what I do.

As a young person I experienced youth clubs, away trips, community safety and a childhood which meant I could venture anywhere without fears of violence. These childhood values shapes my work to date.

Q

What do you want to see change?

A

We need austerity measures to be scrapped immediately, nothing has done more serious harm or neglect to Youth services than the cuts which have hit £70m and rising. Youth Spaces and adventure playgrounds need to be reopened and investment needs to be hastened to provide safe spaces for Young People and Youth employment must be a major priority. With investment being spent to build more homes throughout the UK and regeneration efforts taking place in many communities throughout England, it’s important for many Young People to train in trade practices, upskill University students who are finding employment restricted after completing degrees and ensure Young People who have trade skills learned within prison are able to gain employment opportunities. Lastly halt the current expulsions immediately as this is a pipeline towards Prison and divest money spent incarcerating Young People within prison and probation and refund grassroots interests and community groups to support Young People earlier and help provide better support for their families.

Q

One lesson for people thinking about starting their own enterprise / organisation?

A

One valuable lesson I have learnt is start it!

3 years later and we are still learning, you will never be complete or ready but if you're doing community work or serving an under served sector the needs of people will outweigh your knowledge or unhinged an organisation. Your journey will teach you what you have and what you need but people who you don't know and haven't met yet will become aligned once you gain some momentum, hence our relationship with Hogan Lovells! I never heard or knew about Pro Bono practices until Hogan Lovells partnered with us and guided us through legal requirements, funding opportunities, fund raising, networking, creating contracts for our Young People, securing trademarks and more.

This relationship would not have come about had I not decided to start United Borders charity.

You can determine where you start, you can't determine where you will finish.

Start.

Bayo Adelaja

Do it Now Now

Do it Now Now is an open innovation organisation committed to bringing social empowerment to Black communities across the globe.

They bring entrepreneurs, startup teams, social innovators, investors and philanthropists together to tackle tough issues, solve problems and develop Black communities in underserved geographies around the world.

Q

What inspires you to do what you do?

A

If we are going to solve the problems that are affecting the health and wellbeing of our growing global population, then everybody with a willingness to make a positive impact on society should be empowered to contribute. We are encouraged by the incredible Black people that are building fantastic innovations around the world without access to the tools and resources so many others take for granted. They are building solutions to problems they and their families have experienced with a view to ensure that no one else has to experience the hardship that they have overcome. Whether that is a cancer screening app, an educational technology platform, or a virtual mental health coach, we support Black people who want to use their skills to make a significantly positive difference in society.

Q

What do you want to see change?

A

We want every organisation across the UK to engage in pro-bono support of businesses and community projects led by Black people and other people of colour across the UK and in emerging economies around the world. With more awareness of the lifestyles, innovations, practices and challenges people from different backgrounds have, the better the employees will be at their own roles as they are able to deliver more creative solutions and innovate on the status quo. On the other hand, access to more traditional, big business ways of working with support smaller, underserved organisations as they seek to corporatise, grow and stabilise their businesses in the long-term.

Q

One lesson for people thinking about starting their own enterprise / organisation?

A

Start with the mission. It has to be something you believe in so ardently that no matter how hard it gets, you will continue down that path to creating the solution to the problem you have made it your mission to eradicate. In that, it is important to realise that consistency is key. Its is all well and good having a great mission that you are willing to work hard for, but ensuring that you are applying yourself in a measured manner so that you can work consistently over time is paramount to the continued success of your work. Running a successful business isn't a sprint, it is a marathon - you have to pace yourself and endeavour to choose the best next step even when the finish line is nowhere in sight. 

Stephen Addison

BoxUpCrime

BoxUpCrime is a social youth organisation operating out of London. They work with young people at risk of having their lives ruined by crime and motivate them to rebuild and recapture their dreams and aspirations. They believe that every young person is entitled to a bright future, inspired by their hopes and dreams, regardless of their background. They deliver tailored sessions to schools, Pupil Referral Units and community centres across London. In their weekly sessions, they offer a foundation of discipline through engaging boxing training, educational programmes and mentoring. They provide young people job opportunities and apprenticeships as a stepping stone to their future.

Q

What inspires you to do what you do?

A

The two things that inspire me to what I do is Transformation and Pain, seeing young people transform from living a negative lifestyle to living a positive lifestyle keeps me inspired and motivated. Young people are not born drug dealers, murders or any of the sort it's their upbringing and surroundings that misguides them. Seeing young people transform over a period of time into leaders and positive role models is most inspiring. Pain reminds you in a harsh way why you exist, why you wake up in the morning and choose to live a selfless life rather than a selfish life. Going to my first funeral of a 14 year old boy who was murdered and hearing the screams of his mother as they buried him has never left me till this day. When I feel drained, when I feel demotivated Transformation and pain inspires me to carry on.

Q

What do you want to see change?

A

I want to see young people growing up in deprivation win. in order for that to happen what needs to change is the accessibility of life changing opportunities in the hood, Kids growing up in more affluent areas have a catalogue of opportunities at their disposal, however it is not the same for kids growing up in the hood. Young people shouldn't have to depend on organizations like boxupcrime to provide life changing opportunities. This should be normal and accessible the same way it is normal and accessible for kids living in more affluent areas.

Q

One lesson for people thinking about starting their own enterprise / organisation?

A

When starting to embark on the journey of setting up your own enterprise it is imperative for you to have the combination of purpose and passion in order for you to have meaning. Every enterprise or organization needs to have meaning without it there is no substance. Purpose & Passion = Meaning 

Tolúlọpẹ́ Ògúnrẹ̀mí

A safe space for them to learn, explore and grow

Coders of Colour is an organisation aimed at "Empowering and enabling young underrepresented people of colour to pursue a career in tech by providing them with a safe space for them to learn, explore and grow". We do this primarily by running free coding workshops for young people.

At Coders of Colour, we have a very 'hands-on' approach to support. We believe that all our attendees should leave each of our events with the ability to do something new. We are also there for them if further support is required.

From 2020, we have committed to tackling the Digital Divide.

Q

What inspires you to do what you do?

A

The young people I work with. Watching people come to our initial workshops or programmes with no knowledge of programming or a specific technology and learn so much in a short space of time never ceases to amaze me. It reminds me of the clear need for the work we are doing and highlights the immense potential of young people who just needed a chance to learn.

The engaged volunteers, sponsors and facilitators definitely keep me going and their time and monetary support is also inspirational - it's support I want to give to others in the future.

Q

What do you want to see change?

A

Racially equality treated as a trending topic. We don't all have the luxury of posting black squares and moving on with our lives. The occasional cognizance of what black people go through every day is makes us question how seriously you take our experiences.

There are several organisations that support black people of all ages in several areas of life, providing education, training, therapy, job opportunities and so much more and they need to be supported all year round, not during a certain month or following an atrocity.

Q

One lesson for people thinking about starting their own enterprise / organisation?

A

If you're really passionate about the problem you're trying to solve and you're in a position to take a risk, do it! Sooner rather than later things will fall into place.

Yasmin Waljee OBE

International Pro Bono Partner, London

T: 020 7296 2962

Fenella Chambers

Social Enterprise Senior Associate, London

T: +44 20 7296 5757

Tom Walsh

Associate, London

T: 020 7296 2053