This Black History Month is the perfect time to shine a spotlight on some of the incredible black-owned businesses in the UK, and their founders – to encourage more people to be aware of who they are buying from, and why it matters!
To get to a better tomorrow, we need action, not words. We need to come together around a shared common goal to achieve a better world for everyone, and one way we can ensure real change is by supporting black-owned businesses through action and not just words!
We’ve compiled a list of some amazing businesses and entrepreneurs that we’ve had the pleasure of coming across over the past 10 years of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, so why not show your support today:
Amanda Miles Ricketts – The Niche Company
Amanda Miles Ricketts is the founder of the award-winning wellness brand The Niche Co. Inspired by the healing properties of natural herbs, Amanda created Niche as an answer to her own skin issues she suffered once reaching her 30’s. Amanda found by incorporating herbal tea into her diet, she saw a huge difference in the condition of her skin and hair and wanted to share her findings with the world.
The Niche Co burst onto the food and drink scene in 2017 with a range of functional tea blends using only the finest whole-leaf tea in beautiful recyclable packaging. Since then it has been sold in 15 countries and featured in a wealth of publications including British Vogue, French Vogue, and Forbes. Niche Teas were named the best herbal teas by the Independent and The Evening Standard.
Chika Russell – CHIKA’S
Born in the UK as the youngest of seven children, from an early age Chika was inspired by her African family who loved to cook and create recipes using unique African ingredients – which inspired her snack range CHIKA’S.
CHIKA’s takes the authentic flavours and recipes of Africa, to produce a range of distinctively delicious and luxuriously indulgent snacks. Good Ingredients, Good Ethos, Good Causes. CHIKA’S was founded by Chika Russell in 2013, inspired by African ingredients and cuisine from her childhood, Chika decided to recreate the foods she grew up with and loved.
Naturally gluten-free and suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans, and boasting high nutritional values, these snacks are higher in fibre and protein than traditional potato crisps and the ingredients are all-natural and ethically sourced. On a mission to take consumers on an adventure in taste whilst promoting alternative, healthy snacking, CHIKA’S harmoniously marries the exotic flavours from this vibrant continent with the cosmopolitan palates of the UK in the form of beautifully packaged, luxury snacks.
Jamaal Brathwaite – Jobseekrs
Jamaal Brathwaite is a Barbadian-born serial entrepreneur residing in Manchester, UK. He founded Jobseekrs in 2017 and is the brainchild of the #1 unbiased job site.
After research, Jamaal found a consistent view that the current job search and matching process was very frustrating, where candidates and employers would go through multiple rounds of interviews before realizing the company or job role wasn’t a great fit. Jamaal thought that if you could get a taxi, date and even a doctor through an app – why, in this day and age, couldn’t you be quickly matched to a suitable job and company on your smartphone – unbiasedly?
Jobseekrs is the world’s first video interactive job site that uses psychometric culture-fit and takes the unconscious bias out of matching great candidates to suitable roles. Their job portal allows for a more diverse recruitment onboarding process which in turn enhances candidate engagement, employer branding, reduction in user time and cost and ultimately – employee retention.
Jobseekrs provides a web and mobile app that connects job seekers anywhere, to suitable job opportunities and employers to candidates whose aspirations truly resonate with a company’s culture.
He has been acknowledged widely for his many successes in business, including but not limited to being listed as one of the “Top 50 Most Inspiring, prominent and influential black voices in UK Tech” by TechNation, along with being featured in various shows on Channel 4, ITV & Sky News.
Jamaal’s life’s purpose is to create sustainable value in this world while inspiring others to do the same. He and his team’s vision is to build Jobseekrs into a place that champions inclusive work culture, equality & fairness for all.
John & Leo Lashley – Brooklyn Brownie Co.
Best friends and father and son duo John and Leo started Brooklyn Brownie Co. in the summer of 2019.
They came up with chocolatey treats covered in all sorts of sweets to sell by the postal box dozen. Starting from local deliveries, to the demand for mail orders worldwide it really suddenly went through the roof.
They take brownies and make them extraordinary – and they do so to make other people smile and it doesn’t feel like work.
“For me, the best part is that I get to do it all with Leo which is so awesome. The start of Brooklyn Brownie Co. has extra significance to us both as Leo’s mother and NHS nurse took her own life only days after Brooklyn Brownie Co. was set up. We truly believe baking and working on the business together has helped us both get through an extremely tough time for the family. If we didn’t have Brooklyn Brownie Co. to keep us going and to distract us, then I don’t think we would’ve got through the summer of 2019,” says John.
Justice Williams MBE – Dream Plan Launch
Justice Williams is helping women turn their passions into profit by building and monetising their personal brands with the Dream Plan Launch FREE 90-Day Action Plan Workbook.
She teaches how you can package your skills, knowledge and expertise into multiple income streams such as digital products and online programs.
“Success is different to everyone, so I want you to create a business model you love so that you work less but earn more and become a leading expert and authority in your industry.”
Justice is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, business strategist and trainer who supports women to start and scale their businesses by delivering coaching, training and organising various events, business brunches and workshops.
She has supported over 3000 individuals and is passionate about addressing the inequality in business by championing female founders from diverse – spending four weeks a year undertaking pro-bono work towards tackling child poverty and giving children and low-income families a brighter future.
Keisha Ehigie – Imagine Me Stories
Imagine Me Stories is a monthly subscription box that aims to inspire and educate by providing quality black children’s literature and African/black history activities.
Why is this needed? – Research shows that only 1% of children’s books published in the UK have black main characters. Representation is vital to ensure that children see positive views of themselves and what they can achieve in society. So, Imagine Me Stories are here to make it easy to discover representative books and learn about key trailblazers and icons in the black community!
Imagine Me Stories also works with UK schools to help improve the diversity of their libraries to ensure they are representative of the BAME students who attend.
Kike Oniwinde – BYP Network
BYP Network is the partner of choice for hundreds of organisations looking to genuinely diversify their talent pools by tapping into the Black professional community. With 150k members, 50+ events a year and hundreds of mentorship opportunities, they are the place to go for all things Black professional. Through their products and services, they enable companies to enhance their brand as an employer of choice to the Black community and hire from a talent pool that has previously been difficult to reach.
They want to ensure that there is a future where black people can see themselves represented in all industries.
BYP Network aims to harness and elevate the status of the Black professional, shatter misconceptions of the Black narrative and promote equity in the professional sphere.
Founded by Kike her motivation for starting BYP Network was to “change the Black narrative” after she studied abroad and met talented Black students, who faced similar challenges to those in the UK. Once back in London, the lack of diversity in the workplace coupled with low opportunities to meet others in the city; prompted her to take action.
Lee Chambers – Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing
Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing is an organisation that focuses on assisting businesses to implement effective, measurable wellbeing. They work alongside companies to plan and design wellbeing strategies and deliver quality, engaging wellbeing that creates both a positive impact and a sustainable business case.
They are a trusted, award-winning wellbeing and inclusion agency, and as one of the UK’s leading workplace wellbeing specialists, they have bespoke solutions that can give you a competitive advantage, attract talent and support your teams to excel. From wellbeing workshops, and mental health training to wellbeing strategies, they create and design tailored solutions that will fit your needs and bring effectively, evidence-based wellbeing to empower your team.
They are also passionate about making sustainable changes that can be embedded into business processes. They carry out employee health checks, using data as a baseline level of measurement. They host workshops to increase employee awareness, and coach individual team members who are in need of a higher level of engagement. They actively train wellbeing champions within your organisation who can deliver actionable steps and signpost other employees, building a culture of wellbeing internally. They support you in continually measuring, planning and embedding a wellbeing strategy that works, looking at the wellbeing challenges of the future, and addressing them now in a preventative way, so you are protected when those challenges arise.
From founder Lee’s own experiences dealing with mental health issues, his own health qualifications and his knowledge of how mental health was neglected in the tech sector, he came up with the idea of Essentialise.
Rose Ovensehi – Flora & Curl Haircare
Rose Ovensehi launched Flora & Curl Haircare in 2017 to satisfy her own demand for a plant-derived haircare system for people with dry, textured hair. The brand is available online to customers in over 90 countries.
After stripping back to her natural hair in 2011, her scalp was damaged after years of chemically processing and straightening her hair. In doing this she discovered that many products on the market were formulated with harsh ingredients: whether drying alcohols in gels or harsh detergents in shampoos or fillers that led to constant build-up, nothing ever seemed to treat my hair and scalp with the respect and love that I felt that it deserved.
Each of their products is made from carefully selected blends of nature’s most active and restorative ingredients such as sweet orange fruit oil, hibiscus, and lavender rose flower, based on their ability to work below the scalp and encourage hair growth. The pure oil synergies in their products have been chosen for their beneficial qualities on the scalp such as penetration, potency, a natural antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, stimulating, balancing, soothing and fungicidal properties and improvement in circulation, including therapeutic benefits for the mind and well-being.