Inspirational Entrepreneurs of 2024

SMV is delighted to partner with Black South West Network (BSWN) again in 2024 to provide mentoring support to an inspirational group of Black entrepreneurs. Nine individuals with a range of different business ambitions have been matched with SMV members who can offer the benefit of their own career experiences.

Lanre Amosu, an experienced nurse and nursing administrator who is now developing care homes, has been matched with Katharine Finn, Partner at PwC.

Omari Cato is CEO of Creative Power Town, a platform and hub for the creative arts, designed to upskill, inspire and create the opportunities for individuals to learn, craft and sharpen their knowledge and experience within music, dance, fashion, drama, media production and photography. Omari is working with Andrew Nisbet, Director at Key West Holdings and Trustee of The Nisbet Trust.

Michael Grimes is being mentored by Laura Marshall, CEO of Icon Films, who is supporting Michael in his animated series project.

Leonell Howell runs Shayberis, a residential service providing person-centred care and support to young people aged 13-18 who may experience a range of physical, social or emotional needs. Leonell has been matched with David Freed, co-founder of property development company Deeley Freed.

Shadene Keeling founded Diamonds Social Community Hub to provide practical support, easy access to healthcare, resources and opportunities that connect underserved communities. Shadene is being mentored by Robert Bourns, former Senior Partner of law firm TLT.

Angela Loveridge is the online safety specialist behind Better Together, which offers workshops to parents and carers on how to keep children safe online. Karl Tucker, Chair of Yeo Valley, is working with Angela.

Karl with Angela.

Clayton Planter founded Street2Boardroom to help people who have been involved with street crime to excel in business and wider society. Clayton has been matched with Heather Frankham, who has a successful background in providing apprenticeship and skills training opportunities.

Oluwatosin Shittu is a designer and manufacturer of unique wooden games that can be utilised for fun, learning, wellbeing and teambuilding. Oluwatosin is working with Jonathon Baker, who runs a number of translation and interpreting agencies.

Oluwatosin with Jonathon.

Khan Talbert Johnson is developing BUDD-AI, a digital companion using state of the art speech-to-text technology and Artificial Intelligence. Khan has been connected with Lee Gardhouse, former Chief Investment Officer at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Omari and Khan with Lee.

The mentoring programme is organised by Derek Tanner, Enterprise Manager at BSWN. Derek says “There’s such a diversity of knowledge and expertise on both sides of the programme. That’s what excites me: it’s a learning journey – both for the mentors and mentees. It’s an opportunity to begin that journey of understanding each other’s worlds, which can be both personally fulfilling and inspirational.”

Michael Bothamley, SMV’s leader for 2023-2024 and who was a mentor in the inaugural programme last year, agrees with Derek: “I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of mentoring last year. I’m absolutely sure that I learned more from my mentee than he learned from me. It was a fantastic relationship and very interesting to explore what we can all contribute.”

During the mentoring programme last year, Michael, a retired development lawyer, found that, although he had little experience of his mentee’s world of event catering, he could offer support most effectively through using his connections. “As mentors we are often in a position to open doors and make introductions to other people who can really add the value that the entrepreneur needs. Sometimes we can help directly, but if we can’t, we are usually able to bring in somebody else who can.”

You can read more about last year’s BSWN entrepreneurs in our news blog and our Annual Review.