Last month, I had the pleasure of attending UK Black Business Week, where I was lucky enough to network, hear from inspirational speakers like Patrick Hutchinson and Sir Trevor MacDonald and, finally learn. Learn a lot of lessons.
However, one lesson stood out to me above any other and that was the importance of collaboration. While that message was delivered in the context of building businesses, I believe that it can also be applied to building the black economy and also to our personal lives.
No surprise that, as a recruiter, I’m all about the power of building teams. The overwhelming message, however, from all of the successful speakers that evening was that having a team of people that add value (a key caveat) around you is the quickest, and easiest, way to grow.
Being able to turn to others, whether you’re benefiting from mentors who can stop you making mistakes and introduce you to exciting opportunities, or whether you’re hiring someone to make you stronger in an area you struggle with e.g. a technical founder hiring a salesperson as a co-founder, makes a huge difference.
Steve Jobs, who obviously knows a thing or two about building successful businesses once said "Great things in business are never done by one person; they're done by a team of people."
Since last year's Black Lives Matter protests last year, there has been increasing thought leadership around how the best way to liberate & empower black people is to buy from black people and empower them economically.
Whether this is done by shopping through black business directories or by partaking in initiatives like Black Pound Day, the money talks most when it’s done in numbers. When there’s acommunity of black people buying from black business who trade with other black businesses. A proper supply chain if you will.
Simple macroeconomics, or Group Economics, tells us that being intentional and community-focused, means you're not only funding one business, you're helping to: build investment networks (something black founders often need) & brands, create jobs and provide skills to the wider community.
Finally, we can’t always walk life's path alone. Firstly, It’s human nature to crave community and for those who are struggling, having a network of people that you can support you when you’re in need (financially or emotionally) or that can plug you to the support you need, whether it's therapy or things like breathwork, community and collaboration helps.
Ultimately, the old African Proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” and quote “no man is an island” will never stop ringing true in all aspects of life.
As recently as June 2020, it was quoted that black founders receive <1% venture capital...
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