The Editor’s Post: The power of practising what you preach

 This week in the Pioneers Post newsroom, we reflect on lessons from BUD Leaders 10 Year Anniversary event, the significance of all-female presenters at the WISE100 awards, and why talk is cheap unless it is followed by action.

Talk is cheap, unless it is followed by meaningful action. Last week, I attended social enterprise BUD Leaders’ 10 Year Anniversary event and this was one of the core messages that I got from the business leaders that graced the stage.

BUD Leaders is a Black and female-led social enterprise that provides training and consultancy for female business owners of colour. As expected, at the event there was a lot of talk about the lack of investment into Black-led businesses, which echoed some of the arguments made by Lord Victor Adebowale at For Business Sake’s SEICC Round Table in November. Sadly, Yvonne Fields, founder and CEO of social enterprise The Ubele Initiative, said that not much had changed in investment since she started out as an entrepreneur in the 1990s, meaning that Black-led businesses are still less likely to secure loans and VC funding. Click here to see what Georgina Wilson, the founder and CEO of BUD Leaders, says is one of the biggest challenges facing social enterprises in the UK, in the first of our series of vox pops from the event.

Emphasising the need for meaningful action rather than meaningless talk, Dr Carlton Brown, CEO of Aspire Consultancy, introduced the audience to a term called “the race paradox”. He defined it as “the unconscious illusion of inclusion” formed by constructs (such as the widespread emergence of equity, diversity and inclusion roles and strategies across the corporate world since the death of George Floyd in 2020) that give institutions “a cosmetic facade” of being inclusive and equitable.

Yes, action means directing more investment into Black and Minority-led businesses and promoting more BAME people into positions of leadership across organisations. But meaningful action can start in small ways. What also stood out to me at the event was NatWest’s headquarters (where the event was held) making the effort to serve Caribbean food for lunch (jerk chicken and sweet potato curry, to be precise!). This may seem insignificant to some, but for Black Brits, a community that has historically been made to feel like outsiders and even “imposters” in corporate spaces, food is just one of the ways to make people feel welcomed, seen and valued.

In the spirit of practising what we preach, every year our WISE100 Awards ceremony is hosted by the women in the Pioneers Post team, to align with the theme of celebrating and uplifting women. This is just yet another seemingly small, but effective  example of how we can act on what we say! You can still register to attend this year’s event on Thursday 7 March. 


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Top photo: Georgina Wilson speaking at BUD Leaders 10 Year Anniversary Event, courtesy of BUD Leaders, credits: Lensi Photography