Black History Month: Black Valley
As part of our Black History Month lunch and learn series we were very happy to host the founder of Black Valley, Leke Sholuade, earlier this week. Leke started Black Valley to improve social mobility and the accessibility of working in the tech industry for the black community. Hearing from him about how as a company and as individuals we can work towards creating a more diverse, equal and inclusive industry was very insightful.
About Black Valley
Black Valley is an immersive mentoring programme dedicated to increasing equity in tech by working to improve the accessibility of careers in the tech industry to the Black community. The programme was set up to address the negative stereotypes around blackness, highlighted by events in America earlier this year. Leke felt that tech could play a role in helping to challenge those stereotypes by being made up of a more diverse group; having more positive representation at all levels of tech from founders, to product development, developers, venture capitalists, marketeers right through to how we interact and market products and services. Currently, Black Valley has secured 50 senior level tech professionals for the programme drawn from organisations including Tecknuovo, Lego Ventures, Hitachi, and many more.
“I wanted to move the conversation around race forward, by creating a space that allows Black Talents to thrive in tech, through working together with other experts within the tech industry who are also passionate about diversity and wanted to help address the issue.” – Leke Sholuade,
Having been an active mentor for the past 10 years, Leke wanted to create something that would help society work together to address the current racial issues faced by the Black community. He saw technology as a powerful tool, and one of the ways to move the conversation forward. The idea was to create an environment that champions Black talents and allows them to thrive in tech.
How the programme works
The eight-week programme covers four key development areas:
- Mentoring – mentees have weekly one-hour sessions with their designated mentor.
- Tech network access – each mentee has access to Black Valley’s wider network of 50 mentors.
- Tech industry knowledge – each mentor shares their knowledge about how the industry works providing invaluable insight for each mentee.
- Tech skills – as well as access to Black Valley’s own bespoke small group training sessions, each mentee is signposted to courses and pathways that help can them to develop their technical skills.
Drawing mentees from across the world including Nigeria, America, Zambia, the UK and Northern Ireland, the programme has had an incredible uptake despite only being launched in September 2020. Some of them are aspiring tech founders looking to attract investors, others have already started out and now want to scale up and some are looking to get started with a career in tech.
Tecknuovo is delighted to work with Black Valley on the continuing journey to creating a truly inclusive industry.
Kat Paines, Head of Marketing and Community
I always welcome feedback on what we're doing, if you’d like to reach out to talk more about our inclusive partnerships please contact me below.