The Black British Business Awards’ (BBB Awards) has joined with global communications firm Weber Shandwick to launch Project RISE, an initiative created to raise the profile of UK Black-owned businesses.
Project RISE seeks to increase the visibility and representation of Black-owned businesses in the UK media and help “shift the balance for minority groups and fight against inequality and injustice.”
Weber Shandwick will provide £100,000 in pro-bono communications services to five selected Black-owned enterprises, where each will receive £20,000 worth of consultancy time to help them scale. The programme forms a core part of Weber Shandwick’s commitment to scale and support the influence of Black businesses in the UK.
Programme attendees will also benefit from training sessions focused on skills such as media relations, social media, and video creation to help them to improve their communications strategy and impact.
The news of this partnership comes as Black-owned businesses remain underrepresented within UK mainstream media and face disproportionately more challenges than their white counterparts when trying to access investment. Within the corporate world, Black talent remains vastly underrepresented in leadership roles.
Sophie Chandauka, Executive Founder and Chair of the Black British Business Awards, said: “In an ideal world, access to resources and funds would be equal. Unfortunately, as many Black entrepreneurs have found, this is just not the case, and instead, the effect of this imbalance weighs heavy on their shoulders. Even before the pandemic, small minority-owned businesses were at a higher risk of failing; this has increased exponentially over the past year. Ensuring that these businesses survive the turbulent times ahead will require a fundamental shift in how we all come together to support them. Through this strategic partnership, the Black British Business Awards and Weber Shandwick are committed to empowering and supporting the growth and sustained longevity of Black-owned businesses”.
Helen Bennett, Managing Director at Weber Shandwick, added: “The last year has brought the ongoing need for positive and lasting change when addressing systemic inequalities in our society into sharp focus. The communications industry has the power to help raise the visibility and appeal of Black-owned businesses to a wider range of audiences. With this power, we have a responsibility to do better. With this in mind, and with our partners at the Black British Business Awards, we look forward to launching Project RISE, an initiative that will leverage (or deploy) our communications expertise to help these businesses thrive.”
As part of the initiative, Weber Shandwick invited Black animator Duane Uba to create a film highlighting the challenges faced by Black businesses in the UK and Project RISE’s ambition to shine a light on this community. To watch the film, click here.
Weber Shandwick and the BBB Awards are calling on Black business owners and entrepreneurs from across the UK to apply to Project RISE. In September, a judging panel of leading Black comms and business professionals will select five finalists. Applications for Project RISE are open now and will close on 31st August 2021.
To apply to Project RISE, please click here.