Communications initiative targets black businesses

Black businessman in back of car

The Black British Business Awards 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.

Weber Shandwick will provide £100,000 in pro-bono communications services to five hand-picked businesses, giving each £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. They 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.

Sophie Chandauka,  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.

The Past year has brought the ongoing need for positive and lasting change when addressing systemic inequalities in our society into sharp focus

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, Weber Shandwick MD, said: The past 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.”

To help launch the initiative, Weber Shandwick invited animator Duane Uba to create a film issues. That can be seen here. 

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 7 July 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.

More on Project RISE here