Here at Work In Startups, we’re on a mission to champion the best and most exciting startups in the UK. To support this, we’re starting a new blog series highlighting some of the most innovative and fast-growing startups around. Follow us as we interview startup founders and employees across the country and find out more about their goals and ambitions, what the future holds and (for all you startup jobseekers out there looking for the inside scoop) what they look for in a prospective employee.
Tell us about Black Talent Space! How did it all start and what are your goals?
So I started Black Talent Space this summer at a really difficult time for a few different reasons; the COVID-19 pandemic left people struggling to cope, the murder of George Floyd left people with no choice but to protest for the protection of Black lives as his death was yet another example that Black lives clearly don’t matter to a lot of people. His killing, and the murders of others including Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many more, also left people reliving their own trauma and brought about the resurgence of the Black lives Matter movement. This summer new “allies” were born. We’ve seen friends, family and organisations commit to educating themselves on systemic racism and racial justice. For a lot of organisations this was the first time they’ve had to take a hard look at themselves, acknowledge the disparities that exist in society and come up with ways they can contribute to long term radical change.
Black Talent Space is a platform for Black creatives to showcase their talent, collaborate and build a supportive community. Our goals are to amplify Black voices, provide a space where people can fully showcase their work and create meaningful connections with one another – three things many platforms struggle to promote! Black Talent Space will have membership options for organisations, businesses and Black talent.
What are your values as an ambitious startup?
At Black Talent Space we have a passion for racial and social justice, equity and equality. Our job is to empower – we are passionate about making it easier for Black creatives to connect, collaborate and be free from barriers. We strive to create a safe space where people can publicly or privately speak on topics that often don’t get spoken about or are censored on other platforms for no legitimate reason. We are also big on collaboration and will be including features that will allow users to easily work together.
With your current knowledge and what you’ve learnt so far, is there any advice you would give yourself back when you were just getting started?
I am still quite new to all of this but I would tell myself to slow down a little bit and give myself time to enjoy the ideation process. It can be stressful starting a business and coming up with ideas but it is also quite an enjoyable experience. Don’t be afraid to give yourself a pat on the back for the things you achieve whether big or small. I should add that I have also learned that this is something that should be done throughout not just at the beginning. Never stop being proud of yourself!
The pandemic has obviously affected a lot of startups both in positive and negative ways, how have you guys dealt with it?
I think things are a little different for Black Talent Space having started during the pandemic and being very new, we haven’t had to face many of issues that other startups have had to deal with. I have been able to have insightful conversations and make meaningful connections through Zoom and virtual conferences. It is so important to keep learning new things so it has been great to be able to benefit from attending virtual programmes and accessing educational content to help Black Talent Space grow. I do hope to be able to meet all the new connections I have made during the pandemic, when it is safe to do so of course!
What is next for Black Talent Space and what are the goals for 2021?
Our next step is actually building the Black Talent Space platform! We are currently working with web developers to bring the idea to life. We are also looking for a CTO to lead on all aspects of tech development. In order to build a successful platform, we believe it is important to hear from potential users to help us create something useful – we don’t want to build something solely based on our own assumptions. We have created a survey to help with this process and will also be setting up interviews in the new year. I am really excited to get things going and can’t wait to share the Black Talent Space platform with you all.