“We need to break out of our immediate network to grow our community into one that is representative of UK society.”

“We need to develop our immediate network to grow our community into one that is representative of UK society.”

In June, B Lab UK headed to the Birmingham Black Business show to raise awareness of B Corp Certification among black-led businesses. Jo Adjetey, B Lab UK’s customer success coordinator, and Annie Olivier, head of growth, share their reflections from the day.

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The event

On Saturday the 17th June, Annie, Jo and B Lab UK's content coordinator, Meg, set up a stand at Birmingham Black Business Show to raise awareness of B Corp Certification and the benefits it can bring to business. 

Black-led and Midlands-based B Corps kindly showcased their products at the stand. This proved to be a great conversation starter and attendees were keen to learn more about their positive impact. As well as the stand, we also supported a panel discussion titled: ‘People, planet and profit: the business opportunity’. The panel included leaders from four purpose-driven businesses:

  • Christina Brooks, CEO of Ruebik — a B Corp talent attraction agency that aims to improve leadership diversity
  • Susan C. Allen Augustin, co-founder and chief brand officer at Here We Flo — the B Corp that’s tackling stigma through sustainable period and personal care
  • Shalom Lloyd, founder of Naturally Tribal Skincare — a beauty company that’s embarking on its B Corp journey
  • Andy Ayim, founder of The Angel Investing School, a business that empowers, equips and educates entrepreneurial professionals on how to invest in startups.

Why we attended 

B Lab UK is determined to ensure B Corp Certification is accessible to all. To do this, we’ve been working with our Equitable Growth Advisory Group, dubbed the ‘Equalisers’, and Hatch Enterprise. Following focus groups with Hatch Enterprise’s graduate community, we identified barriers to B Corp Certification among underrepresented founders. A key finding was that awareness of B Corp Certification is low among entrepreneurs of colour — the team attended the Birmingham Black Business Show to make progress on the journey towards changing this.

"To achieve our mission of an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy, we need to have more conversations like these."

Key takeaways and reflections 

We developed a pilot version of a digital playbook for the event which delves into the B Corp Certification process and opportunities it can bring, specifically spotlighting black-led B Corps and their experiences. Jo reflects on how beneficial this was: “It was important to the business leaders we spoke with to see case studies about black-owned B Corps.” 

Annie explains how it was without a doubt one of the best business conferences she’d been to. "B Lab UK often finds itself at events where the majority of attendees have heard of B Corp and this wasn’t the case here, proving we need to do more to break out of our immediate network if we’re to grow our community into one that is representative of UK society.” Jo agrees, saying it was “refreshing to speak with people who were unaware of B Corp Certification.” She expands: “We want everyone to use business as a force for good and talking to those who are unaware or sceptical allows us to understand different perspectives and reassure them.”


"We have a lot to learn from these leaders and entrepreneurs when it comes to business models that challenge the status quo."

To quote Andy from the panel discussion: “Success looks like us and we don’t talk enough about how important it is to see. This creates an avenue for others to feel like there’s space for them to belong here too.” 

At the event, we saw ourselves how black-led businesses are leading the way when it comes to balancing people, planet and profit. Most, if not all, of the businesses focused on how they can deliver positive impact for their communities and the environment. It should be the bare minimum, not the exception. To quote Christina Brooks, founder of B Corp Reubik, “I don’t understand any other way. Organisations can't exist without the planet and its people.” 

Thank you to our panel speakers for their participation and to the B Corps that showcased their products: Akoma Skincare, Honeywell Bakes, Here We Flo, Heward Mills.

Find out more about the highlights from the 2023 Birmingham Black Business Show here.

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