It’s no secret that diversity is a challenge in the tech world, with the tech industry lagging behind the rest of the economy on almost every diversity metric
But in the week in which a tech founder was named at the top of the #powerlist2020, and to mark UK Black History Month, we’re celebrating some of the inspiring, influential and prominent black voices on the UK tech scene. We’ve collaborated with UK Black Tech and Solidarity in Tech, as well as getting suggestions from our social channels to put together an accomplished list of 50 tech sector representatives, from founders to VCs, creatives to campaigners.
Dream Big, Hustle Hard. Abadesi is the Founder of Hustle Crew – a for profit, social enterprise that is on a mission to create a more productive and inclusive ecosystem through talks, training and mentorship. She’s also one half of the podcast Techish, a popular podcast about the intersection of tech, pop culture and life.
A sound voice in UK tech and business, Ade is the Founder of the LBAcademy , a growth hub and dynamic business community that supports tech and creative startups to grow and scaleup.
Adel is the co-founder of Dash, an app that creates shared virtual cards that allows people to split bills with friends or share costs with flatmates. They received a grant from YC this year. Adel is super passionate about diversity, and even created a series of nutrition labels using diversity stats from various companies, to highlight that a lack of diversity is unhealthy.
Co-founder and head creative technologist of design invention studio Comuzi, Alex is doing incredible work in the AI space, raising awareness of the implications of algorithmic bias with regards to race and gender.
Entrepreneur, founder, mentor, youth activist, Alex Onalaja is a supportive and knowledgeable figure on the Manchester tech scene. He coaches SME businesses on how to grow their business awareness and maximise profitability as founder of his business TAD360.
A prominent figure who supports tech businesses, Andy is especially passionate about creating pathways into business for people with the right potential from low income backgrounds. He sits on the board of advisors at YSYS.
Andy is a Venture Partner at Backstage London. Having been in tech since before the UK ecosystem developed, he deeply understands founders’ personal and professional challenges and problems, and knows what it takes to get businesses to the next level.
Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE
With an enviable CV and a seriously impressive list of qualifications and achievements, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon’s wealth of experience and pioneering spirit led her to co-found the STEMettes, an award-winning social initiative dedicated to inspiring and promoting the next generation of young women in the STEM sectors. She also hosts the Evening Standard’s podcast, Women Tech Charge.
A champion for diversity, especially within the tech sector, Annette is the founder of Diverse & Equal, an organisation that changes the narrative of the diversity conversation — from one of ethics and nice to have, to evidenced performance and profit improvements. They hold monthly taster workshops in the North West of England.
Currently working as Programme Director at The Heroworx Institute, Annie is an inspiring voice on the UK tech scene. She was named on the Northern Power Women Future List and selected to be a WeAreTheCity Rising Star.
Bringing techies together in Yorkshire, Antonio is the organiser and founder of one of the biggest tech events in the county – Tech Expo Humber. With Humber experiencing unprecedented investment, the expo unites tech, talent and enterprise and attracts some global tech giants.
The founder of Colorintech, Ashleigh is creating a strong movement for people of colour in digital businesses. Colorintech is a vehicle to increase access, awareness and opportunities for minorities in tech and is driven by the desire to make innovation more inclusive.
Growing, educating and supporting the community of black female developers, Charlene is the founder of Coding Black Females. It’s the biggest platform for black female coders in the UK. She also co-hosts Meetup and Code, a place for devs to meet and share their knowledge.
Not only is Chi-chi the founder of Northern Star finalist Assenty, an innovative way of getting audience insights and feedback before an event, she is also the organiser of #FemaleTechFounder, a monthly meetup in Manchester.
If we’re talking inspiring voices, it would be remiss not to mention David McQueen. With years of experience in the tech world, David now works as a professional speaker, business coach and executive facilitator. He’s also one of the founders of UK Black Tech.
Making a serious impact on diversity in tech, Dawn has worked with governments, consultancies and international organisations, including the Open Data Institute and the UK’s Government Digital Service. She currently runs partnerships and product at the Wellcome Trust Data Labs team, looking at how to bring AI and data science to the funding and health sector.
Creating a strong movement for PoC in digital businesses, Deborah is the founder and CEO at YSYS, a startup community for founders, developers, creatives and investors on a mission to make a difference. They equip diverse talent with the tools and resources to thrive within the startup ecosystem so that they can contribute to an equitable economy, which welcomes all individuals to participate.
An innovative designer, with a passion and focus on inclusivity, Debs is the organiser of Afrotech Fest – the largest African and Caribbean Tech Event in London. She’s currently working as an Interaction Designer on the GOV.UK Design System team at Government Digital Service.
A qualified doctor, Dele is a venture capital investor at MMC Ventures, one of the UK’s most active VCs. Young, networked and passionate about new business, Dele is one to watch on the UK investment scene.
Working to eliminate the career service gap for adults and recently named Global Digital Ambassador by the World Assessment Council, Dijonn is the founder and CEO of Savvy Guest, a fully integrated digital channel where people can browse and apply to meet company employees for a chat on relevant career tips and industry insights.
Senior Developer, tech coach, mentor and public speaker, Dionne is an incredibly active member of the tech community and has a passion for bringing diversity to the sector. A founding member of UK Black Tech, she also founded Where’s The BAME in Tech?, an initiative to highlight successful BAME professionals in tech corporate companies, and provide a safe space for open and honest discussions about BAME experiences in tech.
Ella Wales Bonner
Ella is part of the small, but growing community of Black VCs in the UK. Coming from a marketing background, she’s now an investor at JamJar Investments. Diversity in investors is equally important to diversity in investment, and Ella is passionate about opening up the industry and supporting new founders.
Elsa Zekeng PhD
Scientist, advocate and entrepreneur, Elsa is Director and Head of Student Engagement and Enhancement at Jobseekrs, a brilliant job-matching career solution, for millennials worldwide. She is also co-founder at Solidarity in Tech – a space to talk openly about personal and company-wide conscious and subconscious ideologies, and how to ensure that no one is left behind.
Fey is a Software Developer who specialises in Web and Android Development. She founded Code Possible, a software development learning resources platform for developers, and CodeandStuff, a coding and networking community for women and non-binary developers in Manchester. She also helps organise FreeCodeCamp Manchester and Codebar Manchester, both incredible free resources that promote diversity in the tech space.
An inspiring fixture on the tech scene, Gary Stewart is Managing Director of Wayra UK, Telefónica´s accelerator for digital startups in Europe and Latin America. He recently co-founded his own investment fund and accelerator – The Nest will be specifically aimed at investing in diverse founders.
Recently coming out top on the Powerlist 2020, Ismail Ahmed is the founder of World Remit – an app that transfers money globally, quickly, securely and at a low-cost. It has revolutionised global remittance and had a phenomenal journey of growth and success in just 9 years.
Helping entrepreneurs grow, Izzy Obeng is the founding director of Foundervine, a global community of founders that share a passion for entrepreneurship and technology. This community has become an important place to connect, learn, grow and collaborate with each other.
Innovator and entrepreneur, Jamal is another founder of Solidarity in Tech, the organisation that allows people to talk openly about personal and company-wide conscious and subconscious ideologies. He is passionate about inclusion, diversity and is the Founder and CEO of Jobseekrs, a job matching career solution for young people.
Founder of the biggest platform for black female gamers, The Black Girl Gamers, Jay-Ann is an award-winning empowerment influencer. She co-founded Curlture, an online empowerment platform and is working on her first collection of poetry.
Getting her start in Code First: Girls in 2017, just two years later, Jennifer is a fully fledged Software Engineer for BT. Currently based in Belfast, she gets a real buzz from working in the tech industry, and writes a blog themed around tech and diversity.
Joel Blake OBE
Founder and CEO of The GFA Exchange, Joel Blake believes diversity and technology should be a natural part of any business. With over 15 years experience of innovating business support and enterprise, he helps organisations feel more confident in building entrepreneurial diverse teams, workforces and business strategies, focused on accelerating business growth.
Entrepreneur, educator, speaker, influencer, technologist – Julian Hall does it all. He is the CEO at Ultra Education, an after-school club that gets kids excited about entrepreneurship, inspiring and mobilising the next generation of business minds. He is a best-selling author who has written three books and is one of the founding members of UK Black Tech.
Named the 6th Most Influential BAME tech leader by the FT in 2018 and 15th Most Influential Woman in Tech by Computer Weekly, June Angelides is an investor at Samos Investments. Prior to joining the world of venture capital, she founded a social enterprise, Mums in Technology, which was the first child-friendly coding school in the UK. She is a strong advocate for the rights of working mothers. June is also passionate about getting people from all backgrounds into careers in tech and helping more underrepresented founders gain access to funding.
Passionate about diversity and inclusion, Kayisha is the founder of BBSTEM, an organisation campaigning for balance and representation of black individuals in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). They aim to encourage, enable and energise people in business, industry and education to widen participation and contribution of black individuals in STEM.
Kike Oniwinde is the Founder & CEO of BYP Network, an organisation on a mission to change the black narrative and promote equity in the professional sphere. A creative and tenacious individual, her creation connects professionals and entrepreneurs with one another and with corporations, and hosts networking events that attract major names such as Spotify. This year she was named as one of Forbes 30 Under 30.
A truly inspirational voice and figure, Kirsty is the programme director of Recode UK, a not-for-profit organisation who believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn to code, regardless of postcode. Through coding education, they empower individuals from different communities with the aim of transforming the technology industry.
Liz joined Tech Nation earlier this year and immediately made a massive impact, leading the team of Entrepreneur Engagement Managers, who support tech companies and founders UK wide. Liz brings her passions of tech, diversity and innovation to her work at Tech Nation, empowering and inspiring founders and techies across the country.
Lola is the founder of blackgirl.tech, a non-profit that aims to provide a safe space for black girls and women to learn about and explore technology. They run free monthly workshops and host masterclasses for employers to learn more about diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. She also hosts the podcast, Lost in the Source, which documents her journey as a black woman in the tech industry, as well as sharing coding tips and tricks.
An expert within design and product leadership, Lola is also a sound voice when it comes to blockchain. She is the co-organiser of Decentralised Design, a community of researchers, designers, product managers and similar, working on demystifying a highly technical space in order to bring forth real user value.
A skilled and innovative product designer, Mark has a passion for using design to form really and impactful human connection. He is an advocate for tech for good and how technology can impact education.
Mark Martin MBE
We couldn’t miss out Mark Martin, who helped us put this list together. One of the founders of UKBlackTech, Mark is recognised around the world for his insight and passion for education and technology. He is an expert in helping teachers and schools use technology to improve teaching and is actively involved in the UK tech sector, supporting tech companies and promoting cultural diversity within organisations. He was just this month awarded an MBE for services to education, technology and diversity in UK Tech.
Not just the co-founder and chief executive of People Of Color In Tech, a platform that spotlights and interviews people of colour in the industry, Michael is also the other half of the Techish podcast. In Forbes last year, he said “I wanted to switch up the narrative around the type of faces we usually expect to be a ‘techie’ or work in tech. Partly to place some overdue spotlight on those fantastic individuals, but also to inspire the next generation coming up behind”
Nene is co-founder of VINE Creatives and We Are Stripes . We Are Stripes is a career progression initiative which addresses the ethnic diversity imbalance in the creative industry and VINE is a branding and investment agency for the African diaspora and African focused British based businesses.
One of the founders of UKBlackTech, Ola is also a founder of Xuntos, a community that supports under-represented students, graduates and professionals in the technology industry. Xuntos provides individuals with the opportunity to build relationships, develop their skills, learn from one another’s experiences and most importantly voice their opinions in a safe space.
Another founder of UKBlackTech, Rashada is the organiser of one of the biggest STEM events of young people in the UK. Your Future, Your Ambition inspires children and young adults from diverse backgrounds into studying STEM-related subjects and pursuing careers in STEM-based industries.
Rioch founded So You Wanna Be in TV? after her son was shot and stabbed while in school. The social enterprise addresses the skills gap and lack of diversity in TV, but has diversified to include tech, AI and procurement. She is a diversity expert and the work she does inspires the next generation of UK tech whizzes.
A prominent voice from the tech community in Scotland, Rotimi is an entrepreneur who currently leads the development of pioneering microfluidic technology start-up RAB-Microfluidics. They are developing cutting-edge microfluidic technology to solve oil analysis problems.
Formerly the CEO and co-founder of Reach Robotics, Silas is an inspiring entrepreneur in the Bristol area who works to inspire young people from under-represented backgrounds in STEM and entrepreneurship. As Reach Robotics came to a close late this year, Silas is continuing to innovate in the non-commercial robotics and STEAM education.
A cloud solution architect at Microsoft, Simi is also a founder at Witty Careers. Their mission is to equip women from Black and Ethnic minority backgrounds with skills to build a successful career in the UK Technology industry. They offer practical tech skills workshops, career advice from BME female role models and recruitment channels and career opportunities at their partner companies. She was also named this year as one of Forbes 30 Under 30.
An influential figure in the VC and investment space, Suki Fuller is an analytical storyteller, an expert in competitive and strategic intelligence and an advisor, mentor and speaker. She advocates strongly for tech and is known globally for her expertise in the early adoption of emergent technologies and ability to translate the quantitative into qualitative insights.
Formerly the founder and CEO of Metail, Tom is now the non-executive director of Verco and Do Nation – organisations that are concerned with lessening the environmental impact of humans using data analytics. An inspiring voice pushing innovation and using tech for good.
Let us know who else you would add to the list, at @TechNation.