This series of articles will explore the experience of Black Founders in London, from their initial experiences and exposures to business life in London, how London is growing and change around them, and how Black owned businesses are naturally contributing to building equal opportunities in Londons business landscape.
Jermaine spent the early years of his life in East London, first in Stoke Newington then in Leyton and Leytonestone, before spending time in Jamaica as a teenager. Jermaine remembers a safe and open environment, living on a street in Stoke Newington where a large population of Jewish families also lived, as well as the occasional Asian family. Jermaine was fascinated by the differences he found between his family and those of his neighbours, often jumping garden fences to nose around. Jermaines later years were spent travelling internationally, before returning to London, which, “is and always has been home” for Jermaine.
Coming back and aiming to start up his business, London presented less risk where he had a large network of support, connections and more opportunities. Since returning to start his business, Jermaine notes that London has seen both positive and negative changes. Jermaine sees more small businesses and entrepreneurial groups popping up, a positive which shows a desire to both develop and support grassroots projects. A frequent topic of discussion, rising house prices is making settling and growing in London a challenge for many people. Finally, Jermaine has seen a significant rise in Home-schooling; a practice which Jermaine, a Father of 6, adopted with his wife, and has allowed him to manage both building his business and be a present father and husband.
Jermaine also recognises the great awakening of talent, “people are starting to recognise that businesses and careers don’t necessarily need to follow the same path as those that came before, there is an opportunity for us to carve our own path and make an impact”, says Jermaine. For Jermaine, Black owned businesses are making a profound impact and contributing to their communities, in London and beyond. “The rise of Black owned businesses is setting a president for minorities who may want to bet on themselves, pick a market and audience to serve and bring their skills to the market place”, says Jermaine, “the internet is an equaliser and the market is open for any who want to bring real value and fantastic products and services. I’m glad to be a part of it, particularly as someone who mentors, invests in and encourages entrepreneurship and continuous education in my community.”
For Jermaine, most Londoners are open and have a genuine desire to do what they can for themselves and their families and in general do not go out of their way to make others miserable. “The challenge we have,” says Jermaine, “is that we seem to lack the ability to truly listen, disagree and collaborate with each other in more positive ways. I think better listening and discourse will bring about great acceptance where it’s needed.”
Jermaine has started and run 6 companies in total; 3 of which crashed and burned, 1 he sold, and 2 that now have a successful international presence, working in the UK, Europe, Africa and the US. “I can’t lay claim to all successes, support from mentors and commitment to constant education all contributed,” says Jermaine. “I encourage every business owner and entrepreneur to find a purpose, and a profit-led group of people that will challenge you, encourage you and help you focus on why you do what you do, not just what you do.” Jermaine is committed to the goal of saving jobs and helping companies make a positive impact that extends far beyond their employees, “I do this through the lens of customer relationship management,” says Jermaine.
Success for Jermaine is to constantly push in his pursual of his total potential in business. But just as importantly, being a good man, husband, Father and friend, honour God as a Christian, and work to make people around him better.
Jermaine’s is a speaker at City Business Library, his latest seminar with colleague Ingram will look at how you can use LinkedIn to increase your sales in just 7 days.
LinkedIn – The 7 day sales system on 12 October, which is free to attend.