Danielle Colleman from Lewisham, South Croydon at a young age moved to London from Ghana. She identified very quickly the difference living in the UK as a young black woman, and how others perceived people of the same background. Danielle used this experience to create a scheme to help those from a BAME background, by partnering with experienced entrepreneurs and professionals. We spoke to Danielle about her scheme, and what she sets to achieve in the future.
What made you want to start the Y.EScheme?
“As a young person I saw that a lot of young people, especially young black boys, were being let down by the educational system and media as they are mostly represented in a negative light. Some young people are not academics, so they are just labelled as unintelligent but sometimes they are great business people or have great general knowledge. I saw this happen with a lot of boys in my secondary school that weren’t academics but had great innovative minds.
Some young people might have great business ideas but because of their financial situation, not enough guidance or support on how to start a business, inability to get a loan at a young age or not enough opportunities they’re not able to reach their full potential .Another thing that motivated me was the lack of black role models in media for young people to see so I wanted to bring the role models to the young people so they can learn from the established professionals’ mistakes. Also, them seeing people they can resonate with achieving success would show them that they can do it too. I started this because I wanted to be the change I wanted to see.”
In what ways will the scheme help young people?
“Help young people get work experience. Organise events to help young people develop soft skills needed to start or expand their business. Connect young people to older established professionals that can mentor them or help them expand their business. Provide a pipeline for young people to get work.”
What do you set to achieve with the scheme this year?
“Organises all events part of our three phases. Get contracts with businesses to always have a certain percent of jobs for young people. Get funding given to young peoples businesses.”
In what way can experienced professionals help with the scheme?
“Give funding to young people’s businesses by getting involved in our phase three event where young people are given the opportunity to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges with a potential to gain investment and mentoring. Entrepreneurs offering work experience should contact us. Volunteer their time to come to our event. Get in touch with us to possibly mentor young people.”
Be sure to follow Y.E.Scheme on social media here.