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Women who rock: Yvonne Field

INSPIRED: Yvonne Field

Tell us more about Ubele and how you founded the initiative?

The Ubele Initiative was formally established in 2014 as a community catalyst social enterprise. It emerged quite organically over a number of years out of series of community conversations about what community building activities might be needed to ensure our future sustainability of the African Diaspora – Ubele is a Swahili word which means ‘The Future’

What is to be expected of the upcoming Mali Project event?

The first ever Mali Enterprising Leaders (MEL) event takes place on Saturday 24 June in London. Mali is Swahili for Value and in this project means someone or something of value to our community. More than 30 young adults (18-30 years) from London and Manchester with enterprising ideas will be invited to come together and share ideas about leadership and their specific ideas and find out how they might get support.

One of the strategic objectives Ubele lives by is building community resilience and sustainability. How do you help to encourage that amongst the community?

Our Place to Call Home report which was launched in late 2015, identified a clear need for new younger community leadership and ways of making some of iconic buildings more sustainable for future generations. We are now identifying those young emerging leaders who are interested in making a contribution to community building and supporting them to develop skills to do this.

MEL is working with 5 BME led community based organisations who have also been asked to identify at least 2 young adults under 30 years each – we need to start creating real and lasting opportunities to pass the baton which are led by us as it is a long and rather complex process.

What are some of the key ways we can collectively help to secure future generations here in the UK?

We need to create spaces and processes for real intergenerational dialogue – we have just begin to scratch the surface. There is a wealth of experience within each of the generation and now that we are more than 3 generations of black people living in Britain since post 2nd world war immigration begun, we need to try and learn and build on this.

What advice would you give to other black businesswomen who are interested in following in your footsteps?

Business is simply ideas into action. However that takes intention, dedication and sustained effort over at least 1 year and then usually something actually begin happen – a bit like magic! I have been an entrepreneur for the past 21 years – 8 of my 9 siblings are entrepreneurs – so is my daughter and several of my nieces and nephews – so it also seems to be in my DNA.

Combine your own business idea alongside part time employment and make the transition slowly as it can be a rollercoaster – and definitely not for the faint hearted! Be generous with your advice to others just starting up – and remember all those who supported you!

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