Supercharging the equity and profile of black-owned british businesses 

Today Weber Shandwick has launched RISE, an initiative created in partnership with The Black British Business Awards (BBBAwards) to boost the visibility and representation of Black-owned businesses in the UK.

Many new businesses struggle, but Black-owned businesses have it that much harder, with very real barriers preventing them from reaching their full potential. Despite their enormous success across a variety of sectors, Black-owned businesses remain severely underrepresented within mainstream media.


Through RISE, Weber Shandwick will aim to contribute to change. We will provide £100,000 worth of pro-bono communications services to five hand-picked Black-owned businesses. Each will be given £20,000 worth of consultancy time to accelerate their reach and influence, and take their business to the next level.


In addition, all applicants to the programme will receive access to a series of training sessions focused on skills such as media relations, social media, and video creation. These sessions have been created to enable all businesses to improve their external communications strategy.


The communications industry has the power to help raise the visibility and equity of Black-owned businesses to a wider range of audiences, and with this power we have a responsibility to do better. RISE is committed to driving systemic change within the media industry, helping shift the balance and ensuring we better reflect the vibrant Black business community.


The application period for RISE opens today, 7th July, and closes 31st August, 2021. The application form can be found here, and we call on Black business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country to apply. Following the application stage, a judging panel of leading communications and business professionals will select five finalists. The panel includes: Helen Bennett (Weber Shandwick), Shaffra Grey-Read (KFC), Sunny Misun Jo (Ericsson) and Elise Donovan (BVI Finance).


To help launch the initiative we invited animator Duane Uba to create a film with us that brings to life the relentless adversity faced by the Black community, including the challenges and inequities faced by Black businesses in the UK. The film, entitled RISE UP, also illustrates the ambition of RISE to help shine a brighter spotlight on Black UK entrepreneurs.



The UK’s rich patchwork of ethnic and cultural influences is a great source of inspiration to Weber Shandwick. Respecting and embracing this diversity is central to our company’s values. Last year we pledged $1 million in pro bono resources globally to support organisations that fight racial inequality, and RISE is part of bringing this commitment to life. The programme will become a core part of Weber Shandwick’s commitment to scale and support the influence of Black businesses in the UK.

Applications for RISE can be submitted here. Further information about eligibility and criteria can also be found at this page.

For any questions, please contact us at:

Please see the full Terms & Conditions for RISE here