November 16, 2021

What Impact Has Black Valley Made Since It Launched Last Year?

The platform, launched in 2020, is designed to make Black candidates accessible to corporations, connect Black-owned start-ups with major brands, pair young tech employees with experienced workers for mentorship, and teach small-business owners how to raise capital.

Launched by Leke Sholuade in September last year – it now has a global community of 208 plus mentors from multinational companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Uber, Facebook, Cisco, LEGO ventures, and SMEs.

It reportedly has a three-phased approach to make sure the future of tech is an inclusive one for Black people.

MarketWatch reported last year that only 3.7 percent of Google workers were Black; so were fewer than 4 percent at Facebook and 7.5 percent at Uber. But this picture is not an anomaly in the tech world, where most employers and employees are white and male.

This is why Leke launched the platform. He said: “I created Black Valley to challenge the negative conversations around Black people, on the back of recent high profile events in America.

“I wanted to form a community of allies working in senior roles in the tech industry who could work with me and our mentees to make tech more inclusive for black people.”

How does the Black Valley programme work?

Black Valley works by pairing mentees with mentors who have had similar experiences of where that particular mentee aspires to be. The mentor will work with their mentee on a one-2-one basis via weekly calls tackling the topics and areas where the mentee requires support.

The mentoring program also includes small group training and skills sessions provided by the program’s expert network of mentors and access to its wider online community for more advice and specialist areas of expertise.

Black Valley runs an eight-week structured program designed and developed with HR professionals.

What Impact has it made so far?

Mentee Amber via Black Valley

A total of 431 mentors and mentees are on the slack group; about half are mentees.

More than 900 mentoring sessions have been conducted.

Mentees are not just from the UK or the US, but they include those from Nigeria and Zambia.

Who are some of the mentors?

Gavin Kimpson

Full Stack Developer at CrownControlHQ. He is a passionate web developer who loves everything the internet offers. He is a firm believer in web frameworks and object-oriented programming with PHP frameworks.

He mentors aspiring software developers as part of an eight-week intensive program. Helping to provide real-world experience, code reviews, and interview coaching to enhance diversity in the Tech industry

Julia Godinho

Product Manager at Moonpig. She leads the squad that focuses on the cross-selling and gift recommendation experience at Moonpig with the aim to make gifting thoughtful and accessible.

What are mentees saying about the Black Valley community:

Amber, a mentee from Black Valley, said: “You have a great community of such inspiring and ambitious mentees & mentors in the cohort. Firstly, you’re added to the Black Valley slack channel, where you’re able to connect with everyone.

“This is a great way to build your network and speak to linked-minded people with similar goals, which could be anything from looking to break into tech, learning a specific programming language, or needing some interview prep.

“Plus, there are several different channels such as the job board channel where people post jobs and a motivating good news channel.

“Throughout the eight weeks, a lot of events were held including BV Networking meeting, Early Careers event, Careers & CV’s & Networking workshop, Identifying & Managing Key Stakeholders & Sponsors, BV Design Challenge with Jeremy Mills, and of course the Black Valley graduation Event!”

Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.

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