Akil Benjamin has helped to bring free mentoring to Black businesses as part of his role as director of M&C Saatchi Saturday School. However, Benjamin – who is also co-founder and head of research at design studio Comuzi – is pushing to open this support to a greater number of businesses with a new fundraiser that will create further mentoring opportunities.
The initiative comes in light of the open letter recently signed by leading ad industry figures, which addresses the need to support Black talent. However, as Benjamin points out, the widespread messages of support require tangible action in order to make any real difference.
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After reading the open letter from Adland in @campaignmagazine and the fact that we keep getting more requests for mentorship @mcsaatchischool I want to work with the entire creative industry to take some meaningful action today to get us started on a pathway to change. Help me mentor 100 Black businesses! Black businesses the sign-up form is on that page too, sign up and share. Link in bio for go fund me http://gf.me/u/x7b87j Please do repost and share I'm keen to get this done! #blacklivesmatter
“After seeing how many leaders from adland have signed the open letter for solidarity after the murder of George Floyd, I deeply wonder what this manifesto for change looks like in daily actions for all that have signed,” says Benjamin on the Go Fund Me page. “I am aware many have added books to their reading list and are engaging in conversations with their workplaces but I am agitated in thinking about what we can do now to make a difference.”
On top of donating to the initiative, business leaders can also volunteer to mentor, and the page also contains a link to sign up to the mentoring sessions. While the fundraiser has reached its initial target, anyone can still donate in order to broaden the pool of Black businesses who can benefit from the scheme.
Donate, volunteer and sign up to the mentoring scheme here: bit.ly/2XGHodm