Black Business Leaders

The UK’s 10 Black Business Leaders Inspiring Britain

Black businesses have a rich history of resilience and innovation, with Black business leaders exemplifying success, breaking barriers and setting benchmarks in a variety of industries.

How Many Black-Owned Businesses Are There in the UK?

In the UK, out of 6 million businesses, around 9,260 are Black-led, predominantly as micro-enterprises and small businesses. These firms contribute significantly to the economy, highlighting the impactful presence of ethnic minority entrepreneurs in the business landscape.

Source: University of Oxford Said Business School & Small Business Commissioner

Why Are Black Business Leaders So Powerful?

Black business leaders are powerful because they embody resilience and innovation, often overcoming systemic barriers to achieve success. Their leadership extends beyond business, influencing social change and promoting diversity. They serve as role models, inspiring future generations to pursue entrepreneurship and make impactful contributions to their communities and beyond.

Who Are the Top 10 Most Inspirational Black Business Leaders in the UK?

1.) Piers Linney

Piers Linney is an inspirational Black businessman, recognised as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Black Britons. Rising from a humble background in a Lancashire mill town to a prominent technology investor and former star of BBC’s “Dragons’ Den”, Piers embodies resilience and visionary entrepreneurship. His successful investment in Wonderbly, yielding a 43x return, highlights his business acumen. Piers champions diversity and inclusion, significantly influencing corporate strategies towards more equitable practices. His keynote speeches on AI and the future of work inspire innovation and adaptation, making him a pivotal figure for aspiring entrepreneurs and change-makers in the business world.

Official Feedback for Piers Linney:

“Piers has had the biggest impact of any speaker that we have hosted in the 3 years since we have been running events… Super-efficient and easy to work with in organising, I wouldn’t hesitate in working with Piers again.” – Virgin StartUp

2.) Pauline Miller

Pauline Miller is an inspiring Black business leader renowned for her work as Chief Equity Officer at Dentsu International and her former role at Lloyd’s of London. With over twenty years in human resources, she has significantly advanced diversity and inclusivity within the insurance industry. Her initiatives include spearheading Lloyd’s Cultural programme and leading the global ‘Dive In’ festival, which champions inclusivity across twenty-seven countries. Furthermore, as an Advisory Board Member for the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up organisation, Pauline empowers women and girls globally, showcasing her dedication to creating equitable opportunities in corporate environments. Her leadership and advocacy make her a pivotal figure in transformative business practices.

Official Feedback for Pauline Miller:

“Firstly the session today went extremely well and has been very well received by RGA associates across the region. Thank you for your help in arranging for us to have Pauline. I really enjoyed hearing her story and her insights and I know that this sentiment is shared based on the feedback received so far.” – Karen, HR Manager Italy & Spain, RGA International Reinsurance Company

3.) Phyll Opoku-Gyimah

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, widely recognised as Lady Phyll, stands as a beacon of inspiration through her advocacy for racial, gender and LGBTQ+ equality. As Co-Founder of UK Black Pride, she has pioneered Europe’s largest celebration for LGBTQI+ individuals of diverse descents, fostering a safe space for self-expression and community solidarity. Her leadership extends as Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Trust, striving globally for LGBT+ rights. Notably, her principled rejection of an MBE to protest the legacy of colonialism underscores her deep commitment to social justice. Honoured as Grand Marshall of New York Pride and named among the 100 Great Black Britons, Lady Phyll’s influence is profound and empowering.

Official Feedback for Phyll Opoku-Gyimah:

“Lady Phyll was fabulous. Truly eloquent… I loved Lady Phyll’s wonderful engagement and heartfelt advice for all of us” – Daniel, Country Manager Italy & Turkiye, The Walt Disney Company

4.) Patrick Vernon

Dr. Patrick Vernon OBE is a distinguished black business leader, celebrated for his extensive contributions across health, social justice and cultural history. As a fervent advocate for the Windrush Generation, he launched initiatives like the Windrush Justice Fund and influenced national policies. His leadership roles, including founding Every Generation Media and 100 Great Black Britons, amplify Black British history and promote cultural heritage. Recognised with numerous accolades such as an OBE and featured on the 2020 Powerlist of Influential Black People in Britain, Patrick inspires through his commitment to equality and his impactful public speaking on race, history and social change.

Official Feedback for Patrick Vernon:

“The session with Patrick last week was fantastic. The talk that he provided was really well received and we even had one colleague let us know he had brought Patrick’s book. Please can you send our thanks to Patrick, as we really appreciated him giving up his time to attend our event.” – Latanya, Risk & Compliance Assistant Manager, ISIO

5.) June Sarpong

June Sarpong OBE is a compelling figure in the business world, celebrated for her dedication to diversity and inclusion. As a broadcaster and author, she utilises her platform to address discrimination and champion inclusivity, notably in her book “Diversify”. Co-Founder of the Women: Inspiration and Enterprise Network, June collaborates with global leaders to advocate for equality. Her influence extends beyond media into shaping inclusive corporate practices, earning her recognition as one of the youngest recipients of an MBE for her services. June Sarpong’s relentless pursuit of a more equitable society marks her as an inspirational leader in business.

Official Feedback for June Sarpong:

“June was great, lots of charisma and energy which was great, we loved having her and the feedback has been excellent.” – Anna, Marketing Manager UK, Align Technology UK Ltd

6.) Tim Campbell

Tim Campbell stands out as an inspirational black business leader, known for winning the first series of “The Apprentice” and rapidly advancing from a project management role at Transport for London to significant entrepreneurial achievements. He co-founded the Bright Ideas Trust, which supports young entrepreneurs, showcasing his dedication to empowering future leaders. As a Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Advisor for AMS, Tim impacts corporate diversity strategies and speaks on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to inclusive practices. His book, recognised among Amazon’s Top 10 Business Books, and his speaking engagements highlight his commitment to inspiring positive change in business and diversity.

Official Feedback for Tim Campbell:

“Please can you pass NCFE’s heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Tim for his contribution to yesterday’s milestone event. His speaking slot was absolutely fantastic, and we really appreciated how much effort he had made to understand our organisation and what we do.” – Lindsay, Head of PR & Communication, NCFE

7.) Kanya King

Kanya King is a trailblazing black business leader and Founder of the MOBO Awards. Starting from scratch, she remortgaged her house to launch a platform that now reaches 400 million viewers across 200 countries, highlighting BME talent in music and arts. Her vision and tenacity have earned her prestigious accolades, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from Music Week. Kanya is also a passionate philanthropist, supporting various charities and sharing her inspiring journey at numerous events. Her story of overcoming challenges and committing to diversity and inclusion makes her a profound inspirational figure in the global business community.

Official Feedback for Kanya King:

“It was great to have Kanya to speak – we have received some great feedback and our audience loved hearing your story.” – Joanna, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP

8.) Steven Bartlett

Steven Bartlett stands as a beacon of inspiration in the business world, not only for his groundbreaking achievements but also for his resilience as a Black entrepreneur. As the Founder of the multi-million-pound Social Chain, and the youngest investor on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, he has reshaped marketing through innovation and strategic foresight. His ventures into Web3 with Flight Story and advocacy for diversity amplify his influence, showing a commitment to both technological progress and social justice. Steven’s journey from a university dropout to a celebrated leader underscores his relentless pursuit of success against the odds, making him a pivotal figure for aspiring entrepreneurs and an influential voice in championing equality. His narrative is not just about commercial success but also about inspiring change and empowering future generations.

Official Feedback for Steven Bartlett:

“The event was everything and more than we hoped! Feedback immediately after and since has been that it was the best event they had attended. Steven and his team were absolutely fantastic, so accommodating, so friendly and it really was a pleasure to host them at 25 Bank Street, and even better that we were able to make it happen in person – something I think we all agreed was absolutely worth it. For Steven himself, what can I say… he exceeded even the very highest expectations we had for him – so intelligent and inspiring with his wisdom, but also so generous with his time. He genuinely had a huge impact on the audience and I know people will be talking about this event for a long time! Thanks again for your partnership as always!” – Charlotte, Vice President Operations Control Management, JP Morgan

9.) Bianca Miller-Cole

Bianca Miller-Cole is a paragon of inspiration among Black business leaders, epitomising entrepreneurial success and diversity advocacy. As the Founder of The Be Group, she impressively scaled her business to serve renowned clients like Google and Barclays. Her venture in creating a diverse hosiery brand showcased on BBC’s The Apprentice, led to her recognition in Forbes 30 Under 30. Beyond her business acumen, Bianca dedicates herself to empowering others, evidenced by her mentoring at Brunel University and her influential book, Self Made. Her commitment extends to speaking engagements that inspire a broad audience, from young students to corporate executives, sharing invaluable insights on personal branding, leadership and innovation. Bianca Miller-Cole is not just a business leader; she is a transformative force in fostering inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Official Feedback for Bianca Miller-Cole:

“Her passion for helping people identify their own personal brand is something you need to see to believe. The fact that every member of the audience walked away feeling inspired and committed to making themselves the masters of their own destiny simply demonstrates how influential Bianca Miller-Cole is” – HSBC

10.) Karen Blackett

Karen Blackett stands as a beacon of inspiration in the business world, celebrated for shattering both racial and gender barriers in the advertising industry. As an award-winning leader and former CEO of MediaCom, her strategic vision and pioneering leadership have propelled the company to international acclaim. Karen’s story is particularly empowering; starting her ascent in 1999 and achieving monumental success, including prestigious recognitions like an OBE for her services to media. She’s consistently advocated for inclusivity and representation, influencing change and encouraging black women and the BAME community to pursue leadership roles. Her role as a keynote speaker has transformed many, making her a role model for aspiring businesswomen and a champion for diversity in the corporate sector. Karen’s relentless pursuit of excellence and equality makes her an inspirational figure in the realm of business leadership.

Hire an Inspirational Black Business Leader Today!

If you are interested in hiring an inspirational Black business leader as a keynote speaker, contact The BAME Speakers Agency today! Call one of our dedicated booking agents on 0203 9317 392 or complete our online contact form to begin the booking process.

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