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Meet The Men Behind the Black British Network Paying More than Lip Service to the Diversity Agenda in the UK


By Business Desk



Monday, August 20, 2018.



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 (main picture) 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.


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


For example, while a 2015 study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), suggests that white Britons are the least likely of any ethnic group to go to university, people of African descent are twice 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 Caribbean people, two of the top five largest distinct categories ranked as third and fourth 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, when the IFS releases its report,  Mr Olaleye 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,” says his business partner Ayo Akande. “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.


The two men say their organisation is set up to provide adequate support to increase chances of success and progress for Black Britons across the world of work and in business.




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, five webinars and two workshops with over 500 attendees in total attending events.

Mr Olaleye is a qualified accountant, and founder and Senior Partner at Tridan Business Concept, a provider of finance and operations support to education and charity sector. Mr Akande is a project delivery consultant with the NHS (National Health Service), supporting diverse health clients with change projects and programmes.


Both men point out that they want to reduce the statistics surrounding poverty within the Black community and want to see more people of Black African-Caribbean origin, breaking the glass ceiling in the corporate world and in business.


They plan to do this by using education and available resources within the community, especially with the help of role models. "The goal is to make a difference and make an impact on the diversity and inclusion agenda by empowering the community," they say.

Meet The Men Behind the Black British Network Paying More than Lip Service to the Diversity Agenda i

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