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Inspiring Entrepreneurs: High street heroes

High streets are the beating heart of our local communities. Having a presence on the high street gives businesses a unique opportunity to connect with their customers, and the responsibility to meet their needs as these change and evolve. What additional service could you offer to those who interact with your brand in person? What extra impact could you generate by sharing your spaces with neighbours and fellow makers? We have brought together a panel of three loved and respected local businesses, our high street heroes. Their founders will share practical tips through their inspiring stories and tell us more about their individual journeys. Mary Otumahana, award-winning musician and founder of The RecordShop; a grassroots independent organisation based in Wood Green, that focuses on making an impact with a multipurpose music space located on the high street. By providing access to a recording studio and music career training, Mary is leading a mission to educate, inform and inspire inner-city youths to connect to their community through music.Hellen Stirling-Baker, founder of children’s store, Small Stuff, has led her business from an experimental pop-up shop to a successful, eco-friendly bricks and clicks model at the heart of her high street in Crookes, Sheffield. A perfect example that being a small shop doesn’t mean you can’t have big values; Hellen is a local leader who champions ethical suppliers and supports other retailers, often sharing her shop for community-building events. Hellen is the deserved winner of this year’s High Street Hero for the Small Awards 2022.Carolynn Bain, founder of Afori Books, the first Black-owned bookshop in Brighton. Carolynn almost did the opposite of most during the pandemic; inspired to stock only Black authors in response to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, she started her business as an online shop. Demand was so high however, that Afrori Books was approached to open a physical bookshop in Lighthouse, a local Arts-based charity, with fit-out costs successfully crowdfunded. We are running this event with the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) who are also champions of high street businesses and are here to help, all year round.

Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Building the Black Economy

Join our panel of experts to learn how Black entrepreneurs are building empires online by using their influence and creativity. You will hear from six inspiring entrepreneurs at various stages in their careers and across a range of industries, as our panel come together to discuss the considerations they took into account when building their businesses and the insights they have learnt along the way. Whether you are just thinking about starting a business, a business owner who wants to learn more, or perhaps you wish to establish a stronger network, you’ll leave this event feeling inspired and engaged. On the day, you can expect to: Learn how the Black Lives Matter movement prompted the rise in Black enterprises and powered increased support for themUnderstand the financial reality of starting a business in today’s changing marketExplore Black-owned businesses in theatre and the arts and the importance of representation on the stageRecognise the power of the Black pound and how to convert this knowledge into assets for the Black economyLearn about the importance of social media for building Black businesses. Following this will be an engaging and thought-provoking Fireside Chat – a discussion on community building with Black Pound Day founder and So Solid Crew member, Swiss. About our panel Rachael Twumasi-Corson, CEO and founder of Afrocenchix Ltd. At 19 Rachael co-founded Afrocenchix, an award-winning ethical start-up that creates safe, effective, vegan certified products for Afro & curly hair.Emmanuel Asuquo, founder of The Eman Effect UK, is a renowned, financial adviser, media personality, wealth building entrepreneur and international speaker.TJ Atkinson is a Property Investor, who specialises in transforming homes into beautiful, creative masterpieces. Alongside growing his portfolio, TJ supports people in his community with getting started in property.Indie Gordon is Head of Program at Foundervine and founder of Halo safety app. She aims to empower today's and tomorrow's companies, ensuring they’re tech-enabled and can weather the storm of any social, economic or environmental change.The panel will be moderated by Khai Shaw, co-founder of the theatre company Nuu Theatre. Khai has collaborated with the English Touring Theatre Company and the Bush Theatre. Fireside Chat Swiss is the founder of Black Pound Day, the UK's biggest economic movement that supports Black-owned businesses. He is a cultural influencer, business leader, author, and highly acclaimed musician and member of So Solid Crew. Alongside his passion for music, Swiss founded the Black Pound Day movement to support awareness and growth of the Black businesses and economy in the UK and global diasporic communities. Recently, Swiss opened the first permanent retail store at Westfield London, Europe's biggest shopping centre, and continues to actively support hundreds of businesses across the country.The chat will be moderated by Jacqueline Brown, BIPC Business Support Programming Manager, serial entrepreneur and founder of businesses Africa Fashion Guide, Wax and Wraps and M.O.R.Empire. Since 2011, Jacqueline has helped start-ups to build and launch sustainable fashion businesses from scratch with coaching, digital tools, community and connections.

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