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The Black British Business Awards and Weber Shandwick launch Project Rise to boost Black business representation in media

The Black British Business Awards and Weber Shandwick launch Project Rise to boost Black business representation in media

The Black British Business Awards’ (BBBAwards) has partnered with global communications firm Weber Shandwick to launch Project RISE, an initiative created to supercharge the profile of Black-owned businesses in the UK. (Main image: Sophie Chandauka)

Weber Shandwick will provide £100,000 in pro-bono communications services to five hand-picked Black-owned businesses, giving each business £20,000 worth of consultancy time to accelerate their reach and influence and take their business to the next level.

In addition, all applicants to the programme will receive access to a series of training sessions focused on skills such as media relations, social media, and video creation. These sessions will aim to enable all businesses to improve their communications strategy and impact.

Despite the enormous success of Black-owned businesses across a variety of sectors, these businesses are severely underrepresented within UK mainstream media. Black-owned businesses in the UK also face disproportionately more challenges than their white counterparts in other areas including limited access to investment and finance, lack of representation in senior ranks and discrimination.

Project RISE was developed to increase the visibility and representation of Black-owned businesses across the media landscape to ensure the industry is a reflective mirror of the vibrant Black business community in the UK helping shift the balance for minority groups and fight against inequality and injustice.

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 said: “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 and 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.”

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To help launch the initiative, Weber Shandwick invited Black animator Duane Uba to create a film bringing to life the relentless adversity faced by the Black community, which includes the challenges and inequities faced by Black businesses in the UK, and the ambition of Project RISE to help shine a brighter spotlight on Black UK entrepreneurs. Link to film.

Weber Shandwick and the BBBAwards are calling on Black business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country 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 open on 7July and close on 31 August. The programme will become a core part of Weber Shandwick’s commitment to scale and support the influence of Black businesses in the UK.

To apply to Project RISE, please visit: HERE