A NEW social app aims to bring together ambitious black young professionals in order for them to get ahead in their careers and shatter the so-called ‘glass ceiling’ preventing many ethnic minorities realising their full potential.
Black Young Professionals Network (BYP Network) is a platform helping ambitious future leaders to connect with one another, form friendships, collaborate and pursue careers in business. The networking app, which already has more than 2,000 users and has been described by many, as ‘LinkedIn for black professionals’, is the creation of Kike Oniwinde, a University of Nottingham graduate from Dagenham in East London.
Kike came up with the idea after meeting numerous likeminded black peers both through internships at Deutsche Bank, Citi and Goldman Sachs and during studying for her Masters at the University of Florida. After returning to the UK, Kike sought to extend her own professional network further. However, she found the existing networking events on offer were too formal, lacked purpose and did not reflect her ethnic background, so she decided to take positive steps to improve the choices available to people in her position.
Kike, who currently works in business development for a financial technology company, said: “A lot of young black people I met had achieved some success in their corporate careers or businesses, but many had the feeling of ‘What now?’ They felt like they could do more but there always seemed to be a limit to what they could achieve due to the culture of the workplace and the so-called ‘glass ceiling’.”
Kike’s personal observations reflect the reality of black and ethnic minority representation within the business and corporate world. A recent analysis of Britain’s 1,000 most powerful people found just 36 were from an ethnic minority background. Another study, by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, found British ethnic minority graduates are between 5% and 15% less likely to be employed than their white British peers six months after graduation.
Kike believes the BYP Network can help to affect change within the workplace by encouraging black young professionals to strive for higher goals, and in the process help to alter public perceptions of young black people.
She said, “I created BYP Network so that black professionals can inspire one another to break through the glass ceiling and ultimately change the business landscape for future generations to come.”
The BYP Network app is available for iOS, Android and online and is free of charge to download and use. It uses a hashtag system so each user can input all their profile interests and reasons for joining, enabling a high level of personalisation to ensure they meet peers with compatible interests.
Although the network is aimed at black young professionals aged 18-35, there is no specific entry requirement and likeminded people from all backgrounds are welcome to join. All members are also welcome at any BYP Network events, which are held throughout the year as a chance for members to socialise and listen to keynote speakers from within the UK black community.
For more information about the BYP Network please visit www.bypnetwork.co.