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Meet The Men Behind the Black British Network Which Pays More than Lip-service to the Diversity Agenda in the UK


Meet The Men Behind the Black British Network Which Pays More than Lipservice to the Diversity Agenda in the UK


Research indicates that ethnic minority groups are expected to double over the next 2 decades to between 20 and 30% by 2050 from the current estimate of about 8million.  A 2017 Government’s racial disparity audit reveals that BAME people have significant differences in their life outcomes in UK.

After growing frustrated at the lack of support for Black African and Caribbeans in the workplace and in business across the UK, Dotun Olaleye and Ayo Akande launched Connect4Better, also known as, Cee4Bee in July 2015. Cee4Bee is a non-profit organisation which aims to tackle some of core issues that have been barriers to the Black British community.

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The Black community is twice as likely to be unemployed, more likely to work in lower paid and lower skilled jobs and are under-represented at senior levels across public sector, less likely to own a home. Black African and Black Caribbeans, 2 of the top 5 largest distinct categories ranked as 3rd and 4th groups most likely to be in persistent poverty.  Factors responsible are numerous, including lack of adequate levels of skills, lack of visible role models guidance, low confidence, inappropriate mind set, work place discrimination and more; and Cee4Bee wants to change things.

“As at 2015, Dotun was already a Finance Director covering a few schools and had seen first-hand how he was the only representation of any black minority in senior management compared with majority who were in lower cadres support staff including cleaners, security guards and kitchen staff.  There have been numerous studies and research papers produced on the issues facing the Black community in the UK and yet it feels as though there has been very little tangible and visible change. In order for the Black community to fully thrive and maximise their full potential, there must be more than lip service to the diversity agenda. We exist to provide adequate support to increase chances of success and progress for BME individuals across the world of work and in business”– Ayo Akande.

With their passion and dedication, the initiative has now grown with a core team of 12 volunteers and many more who support on a one off basis including events day support in addition to senior professionals who act as advisers. Their network offers support, mentoring, webinars and events which have included a number of influential keynote speakers.  Since they launched in 2015 they have hosted, 19 free face to face events, 5 webinars and 2 workshops with over 500 attendees in total attending events.

Ayo and Dotun want to reduce the statistics surrounding poverty within the Black community and want to see more Black African-Caribbeans breaking the glass ceiling in the corporate world and in business. Using education and available resources within the community, especially with the help of role models they are set to make a difference and make an impact on the diversity and inclusion agenda by empowering the community.

For interviews and more information

Ronke Lawal

Twitter and Instagram - @cee4beeuk


Notes to editor

Founders Bios

Dotun is a qualified accountant (ACCA), founder and Senior Partner at Tridan Business Concept providers of finance and operations support to Education and Charity sector and Ayo is a project delivery Consultant with the NHS NELCSU Health Care Consulting team supporting diverse health clients with change projects and programmes.

About Cee4Bee

UK registered charity (no - 1174657) currently located in London

Charitable objects are

  • To advance education for BME by providing support and activities which develop an individual’s competences, skills and understanding
  • To act as a resource for young BME people by providing advice and assistance as a means of advancing in life and relieving unemployment

Current services

  • Face to face events – thought leaders sessions, sector specific seminars, young people’s event, workshops and trainings
  • Webinars
  • Blogs
  • Pipeline services
  • Podcasts – career descriptions, career advices
  • Facilitated online peer to peer support – include coaching and mentoring
  • Skills development workshops and trainings including CV, interview, business planning coaching.
  • School talks  - providing role models from members to inspire 12-18 years

Former Dragons' Den Investor Supports London’s Only Wellness Interior Designer


Former Dragons' Den Investor Supports London’s Only Wellness Interior Designer

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Medina King is the only London based Child wellness interior designer that creates personalised, colourful and fun bedrooms and playrooms for children. Medina is an interior design graduate from the renowned University of the Arts. With almost a decade of experience in the Interior Design profession she has built a client base of successful professionals across Chelsea and Kensington, Mayfair, Hackney, Islington and Surrey. 

What makes Medina different is the wellness aspect of the services that she offers: “A Wellness Expert looks at the design as a whole, making it practical as well as, safe and comfortable, enhancing the health of the children that use the space. We do this by considering the types of materials used, how light is used within the space and ensuring that the space planning and design is practical and safe.” – Medina King.

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With the calm, down to earth personality of an interior stylist and the technical skills of an interior designer Medina has won the hearts of many clients and have designed amazing spaces for families with young children. Her skills are vast, ranging from plan drawings, fabric and furniture sourcing, colour consulting, designing bespoke storage solutions and project managing making her the ‘one stop design shop’ for your child’s or children’s rooms.  Medina is determined to invest in the future generation, by getting children involved in the design process and offering various workshops to enhance their skills.

Medina has also spoken at the Ideal Home Show as an expert in children’s interiors and have given one- to-one interior design advice at the 2018 Renovation Hub. In April 2018 Medina won Small Business Sunday award by Theo Paphitis; a serial entrepreneur and former investor from BBC Dragon’s Den.

Medina will be taking part in the Autumn Fair with support from Theo who has provided 12 “Small Business Sunday” winners with free exhibition slots. Medina will be launching the flamingo heads and baskets and garlands for the first time at the home and gift Autumn Fair. She will also be running some mini garland and wreath making workshops on her stand, and launching the DIY felt ball garland kit.  The autumn Fair runs 2-5 September at Birmingham NEC, and will gain access to thousands of visitors and buyers ready to order products ahead of the busiest retail period of the year – the Golden Quarter.


Ronke Lawal


Notes to Editor

Small Business Sunday, shortened to the hashtag #SBS on Twitter, was created by Theo Paphitis in October 2010. Theo is best known for appearing on Dragons' Den on BBC Two. He is Chairman of Ryman Stationeryplus Boux Avenue lingerie, Robert Dyas and latest acquisition London Graphic Centre.


5 Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Publicist

Having been in PR for so long, I have had more potential clients than I can count. In fact if all of the people who approached me to undertake their PR actually became my clients I would be a millionaire by now! It is exciting to receive interest in my work but there does come a point when becomes frustrating. Why? Because all too often prospects are simply not prepared when they approach PR agency or want to hire a publicist with regards to knowing what it is they really want.

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If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur here are just a few questions that you should be asking before you approach anyone to undertake your PR.

Do you actually know what Public Relations is? I know this might sound simple but it still surprises me that so few people have a basic understanding of what public relations is. I have written pieces and even made videos about public relations so I won't explain it here again but I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to gain an understanding of PR. Once you understand what it is then you will be clear about how it can make an impact in your business or even on your own personal brand on a strategic level.

Do you have a budget? Publicists and PR agencies are not free to hire, they charge money, you might wonder why I have written this but you would be surprised how many requests to undertake free work I have received in the past. So before you approach a publicist please set aside some funds ready to assign their services, this means that you will need to do some research and compare and contrast. Be respectful of time and capacity, if you really want to work with an agency but they are out of your budget you will need to be mindful of how you choose to negotiate with them, think about how you would want someone to negotiate with you with regards to pricing. Also do not judge an agency on price alone, you really need to dig deep and check to see if the publicist you want to pay will be the best value for you. That means different things to different people and it does not just boil down to cost alone, it can be reflected in your overall experience of working with them and how they engage with you, what further value do they add to your business? Above all else be ready to invest in a quality service so have a budget ready.

Have you done your background research? I have a very good business website and yet people will still contact me with questions that could easily be answered if they just took 10-15 minutes to browse through my business website and even business social media pages. It saves so much time and prevents awkward moments if you do as much background research on the PR agency or publicist that you are looking to engage with as possible. This also means reading testimonials and paying attention to how they work which will enable you to see if they might work well with you. After you have done your research then of course send that email, make that call and if you need to; request a meeting. This also works even if a PR agency or publicist approaches you or pitches to you for your business, make sure you undertake the necessary research to see if they will be a good fit for you before you proceed.

Can you do the PR yourself? This might seem strange but realistically you might not have the money to pay a retainer (or even a one off fee) to hire a publicist. That does not mean that you should take PR less seriously, in fact if that is the case then you need to learn how to do your own PR and take it just as seriously as if you were hiring an external party. If you have a team then you should try to include the team in the strategic PR plans of the business. Attend seminars, business books, eGuides or book affordable consultation sessions which will empower you to do your own PR.

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Is your business ready to incorporate PR?  I believe that all businesses should have PR as part of their business plans, from pre-launch to the every day management of the business. Have an internal and external communications plans, understand media relations, have a crisis communications strategy in place before a crisis happens and more - if you really want to make an impact with PR.   However there are a few factors that businesses much keep in mind when it comes to readiness to incorporate public relations. A very good example is the media relations aspect of PR which many small businesses and start-ups use to enhance credibility and increase brand awareness. If a business is not ready internally with solid logistics and infrastructure when they receive major media coverage they might not be prepared for any sudden spikes in orders. This could have a negative impact on a brand, particularly in the social media age in which customers and clients can amplify mistakes leading to a PR disaster. So really take the time to think about whether your business is ready.

I understand that hiring any service provider can be a big investment and so it really is important to take the time to prepare yourself before you consider hiring a publicist so that you don't waste your time and theirs. Hopefully these questions will help you make the right choices so that your business and brand continue to thrive.