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Connecting Black professionals to each other and to corporations.

BYP Network is a platform and partner of choice for hundreds of organisations looking to genuinely diversify their talent pools by tapping into the Black professional community. We are the place to go for all things Black professional, with numerous events and masterclasses a year, and hundreds more opportunities spanning across mentorship, networking, jobs, training and engagement. By using our products and services, companies can enhance their brand as an employer of choice to the Black community and hire from a talent pool that has previously been difficult to reach.

How did it all begin?

BYP Network was created in 2016 by the need to connect Black professionals and students from all over the world for role model visibility, career opportunities and business support. As a former Great Britain athlete and top student, Kike Oniwinde Agoro was afforded many opportunities during the start of her career journey, including a full scholarship to the University of Florida. She met some incredible people there, including Black students and professionals across different backgrounds, however it dawned on her that there wasn’t much Black representation outside of sports and entertainment. On top of being one of only a few Black people in her banking internship, the 2016 Black Lives Matter protests further highlighted to her the need to not just protest the problem, but deliver a solution. And so she was motivated to build an empowering platform that works with corporate partners to diversify acquisition pipelines and drive positive change across all industries.

What sets your business apart?

We are unique in our offering and focus. Despite originally concentrating on ‘Black young professionals’, our community has grown exponentially and now encompasses over 100K members of Black talent across different seniority levels and backgrounds, in addition to conscientious allies. It is BYP’s community-led approach that helps to set us apart, and our range of products designed to attract, retain and engage Black professionals throughout their career journey. Not to mention our talented team that works hard on building strong relations with our partners and members.

What is the concept behind your business or the problem you’re solving?

The concept behind BYP Network is to bring a sense of community and connection to Black professionals across the globe. We also serve as a companion to our members’ professional journeys, aiding them through corporate mentorship, upskilling webinars, networking and job opportunities, and more. We continuously draw attention to the adversities that Black professionals may face in the workplace and beyond, so as to build a support network of allies that can help create a more equitable future. We champion Black success as a tool for empowerment and diminishing biases.

Where to next/What is your brand vision?

Our overarching vision is to be the voice of the global Black professional community and the go-to platform for all things that can empower Black professionals. We are aiming to continue to build stronger bridges between the community and corporations, institutions and establishments, to enhance Black lives and social inclusivity as a whole. Our products and events offerings will see some developments and expansions in 2023, which we hope will bring even more opportunities and professional guidance to our ever-growing network.

Kike Oniwinde Agoro

Founder of

BYP Network

What do you feel passionate about/what drives you?

Myself and the BYP team are all incredibly passionate and driven by the same shared mission and values – to change the Black narrative and create a more equitable and inclusive society. Each week we hear more news stories breaking about the inequalities and barriers that Black people face in their industries – which spurs us on even further in the fight to help the Black community thrive amongst its peers and allies.

Share an example of early life that has shaped you?

Representing Britain in international competitions prepared me well for the challenges of running a tech start-up, with pressure, defeat and soul-testing exertion all providing invaluable lessons. The fact that there are more avenues to success in business than in sports also gave me the confidence to see a world of opportunity.

Highlights of your business journey so far?

There have been so many highlights, but I particularly enjoy hosting our BYP Leadership Conference each year. It was great to be able to return to an in-person event following the easing of pandemic restrictions. The atmosphere and impact you feel with hundreds of Black professionals and renowned speakers in the room is incomparable. Plus, every time we hear of a new hire through one of our BYP products, it really does give us a sense of pride and excitement.

Key lessons you have learned along the way?

You can find yourself facing many obstacles along the journey – both professional and personal. However, you can turn pain into power – every circumstance can be turned into a gift or an opportunity. As long as you ensure that you learn from your failures and setbacks, you will be able to use them as tools to grow stronger. Not everything has to be perfect from the outset, in fact you learn so much more when it isn’t.

Best piece of advice you have received?

Every failure can be turned into a gift of power, knowledge or inspiration.

Advice to an aspiring entrepreneur or woman just starting her career?

Maya Angelou once said, “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” So, stand up for yourself and your ideas. Don’t succumb to imposter syndrome – many men don’t. If you believe in it, if you have passion for it, just go for it. In turn, you can become a trailblazing inspiration for other women to do the same.

What funding route have you chosen for your business and why?

We are privately owned and have had the support of some experienced investors. In 2020 BYP Network secured a historic million dollar crowdfund, grew the team ten-fold and doubled down on our efforts of changing the Black narrative.

Some of the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?

The BYP team has sadly faced a few periods of personal losses and grief in quick succession, including the passing of my own mother. Needless to say this was a huge challenge, trying to remain strong as the CEO whilst dealing with the emotions of losing one of my own and the company’s biggest champions. But, I carry her wisdom and essence with me and feel her guidance everyday. It has helped me to lead with compassion and strength, and focussed my attention on building a brand that generations to come can benefit from.

Why is it important to support women-led business?

Statistics consistently point to the fact that women are the most vulnerable to being passed on opportunities or suffering a lack of confidence in business. Women of colour in particular experience these barriers the most, as well as harmful stereotyping and biases, and it is vital to dismantle these to break the cycle.

60

Seconds

with

Kike Oniwinde Agoro

My inspiration is...

My mum. She was and continues to be a powerful source of inspiration in my life.

My greatest fear is...

Not fulfilling my potential.

The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is...

Building BYP Network has required a lot of bravery and in turn it has been so rewarding.

Guilty pleasure?

Sweets and chocolates… who can resist?!

Mantra you live by?

I’m walking a path already laid out for me.

Female role model?

Again I would have to say my mum. She was my best friend, my biggest supporter and my teacher.

Women-led brand you love?

I love the founding story behind the dating app Bumble, led by Whitney Wolfe Herd - how she used her experiences to both identify a gap in the market and challenge misogyny in and out of the workplace.

Top productivity tool?

I always have a busy schedule, even more so with a new baby to balance my workload around. So my notes app is very useful for keeping track of ideas and comments on the fly.

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