Meet the woman aiming to double the revenues of Black female business owners

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IN THE world of entrepreneurship, where opportunities for Black female entrepreneurs to grow their businesses are rare Georgina Wilson is a source of empowerment and hope.

Over the last decade she has led an initiative aimed at providing more avenues to help Black female business owners to succeed in achieving their entrepreneurial goals.

Vision

However Wilson’s vision is about more than just business. As the founder  of BUD Leaders, an organisation that promotes development and empowerment opportunities for women she wants to rewrite the existing narratives about the lack of diversity and inclusion in UK entrepreneurship.

As part of that vision she recently launched a groundbreaking campaign called Challengex2.

The initiative has a bold target: to double the revenues of Black and Global Majority businesswomen by 2030, while also addressing glaring power imbalances in leadership roles across the country’s businesses.

Challengex2 unites diverse entrepreneurs and organizations to reshape the UK business landscape and overcome systemic procurement barriers (Pic: Getty)

Challengex2 brings together changemakers from large corporations, smaller companies, trusts and foundations with  Black and Global Majority  female entrepreneurs with the aim of transforming the UK business landscape and creating opportunities for their business growth.

It’s call to action is aimed at reshaping procurement and contracting, areas in which Black and minority-owned businesses have historically faced systemic barriers.

The initiative will encourage all the organisations that have signed up to actively work towards addressing the structures that have created the  inequality faced by Black female entrepreneurs and supporting them in increasing their revenue and growth.

Stark reality

The statistics paint a stark reality: less than 1% of corporate spending is directed towards Global Majority-led businesses, and a mere 5% of Black women-owned businesses secure contracts with large corporations.

However, Wilson refuses to be daunted by the figures, and says she is determined to channel her energy into tangible action that brings about lasting change.

“The reason we launched Challengex2 is because last year, we looked at theories of how to create more equity for Global Majority and non-White leaders in business” Wilson says.

“And what we recognised was that there are key elements that are really important to seeing real systemic change. Everybody recognises that there is a massive disparity between Black and White business owners, the evidence is there. But how are we going to create real change? I wanted to come up with a tangible vehicle from which to do that.”

Wilson continues: “We wanted to have a big, hairy, audacious goal, but we recognised that we didn’t want to do it all on our own. We just want to facilitate this change. We want to bring £50 million minimum into Black communities. And the key here is about legacy.”

According to Wilson if Challengex2 achieves it goal it will create a ripple effect as other underrepresented entrepreneurs see more people who look like them become successful.

Wilson’s journey into entrepreneurship and social impact began in Tulse Hill, south London.

Unrealised potential

While managing a community café in the area, she saw firsthand the wealth of unrealised potential of people living there. Recognising the need to support and guide people who also wanted to run their own businesses, she set out to help them by providing advice on how to identify their strengths and chart a path toward success.

“I had an opportunity to run a community space in Tulse Hill.  I got a lot of interest and enthusiasm from members of the local community who wanted to come in and test out their businesses and projects” she recalls. “However they didn’t have the confidence, tools, resources or networks to be successful. And so, I started having coffees with them. Because I’ve got an entrepreneurial background I started supporting them to piece together their project ideas or their business ideas. But it was happening far too often.

The way that women are going to be able to be successful, it’s really about connecting with other successful women, and letting go of some of those barriers that may be holding them back

Georgina Wilson

“And I just thought, this is a real systemic problem because far too often, these people looked like me. So, I decided to create an organisation to do something about it.”  

Central to Wilson’s approach is her emphasis on collaboration and partnership. This ethos is deeply ingrained into the work that BUD Leaders does and in Challengex2, whether that is forging strategic partnerships with organisations and companies committed to positive change or providing opportunities for Black female business owners to network and exchange ideas and information.

“There’s so many things that you can do as an individual. But what I would say is that the way that women are going to be able to be successful, it’s really about connecting with other successful women, and letting go of some of those barriers that may be holding them back” Wilson says.   

“It’s also about women taking the time to work on themselves, put themselves first and after doing this work take all of the things that they have learned and step into their greatness.”

Pushing forward

Following the launch of Challengex2 Wilson says she is looking forward to pushing forward the BUD Leaders vision of breaking barriers and create a more equal and inclusive UK business landscape.

Central to that vision is an unwavering commitment to encouraging other Black female business owners to cultivate a mindset defined by fearlessness, vulnerability, authenticity, and a relentless pursuit of personal growth, qualities shew feels are crucial  in a world where their voices are often ignored.

“I would describe myself as the Black fearless female. I’m very motivational. It’s often said that if you hang around me, be prepared to grow. But this kind of fearlessness is really about vulnerability, an acceptance of who you are and being your true authentic self. You’ve got to be ready to go after what you want, but actually recognise who you are and still  go for it.”

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