Black businesses and entrepreneurs celebrated at City Hall

30 September 2013

Event: Black History Month debate – Black businesses and entrepreneurs

Date: Monday 7 October 2013

Time: 6:30pm-8pm

Venue: The Chamber, City Hall, The Queen's Walk, London SE1 2AA

Entry: FREE – advance booking required. Email [email protected]


To celebrate Black History Month, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson will host a free event at City Hall exploring the history of Black businesses and entrepreneurs, and their contribution to London's prosperity, past, present and future. As well as the Mayor, speakers will include Ade Sawyerr, a founding consultant at Equinox Consulting; Damon Buffini, Investment Committee member and former Managing Partner at Permira; Natasha Faith, CEO and designer at Hatton Garden based luxury jewellery company LA DiOSA; Ric Lewis, Chief Executive, Tristan Capital Partners; Sonia Brown MBE, founder and director of the National Black Women's Network. Chairing the event will be entrepreneur Tim Campbell, who is also a mayoral Ambassador for Training and Enterprise.

To be attended by business leaders and entrepreneurs, as well as the general public, this timely event will include a question and answer session and be followed by a reception.

People wishing to attend this free event should register their interest at [email protected]. For additional information, please call the Public Liaison Team at the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100.

Biographies Ade Sawyerr –speaker Ade Sawyerr will provide the historical dimension to the subject. He is a management consultant with many years’ experience of working on economic, enterprise and community development issues. He is a founding partner at Equinox Consulting, a consultancy set up 28 years ago to provide an integrated approach of consultancy, training, and research on issues that affect ethnic minority communities in Britain and abroad. Ade Sawyerr has carried out ground breaking, empirical research on Black businesses in Britain over a number of years, and will highlight the success and challenges experienced by this sector over the years.

Damon Buffini - Speaker Damon Buffini is a founding partner of Permira and was Chairman and Managing Partner from 1997-2010. Under his leadership Permira’s funds under management grew from €1.9 billion to over €20 billion and the firm’s number of offices has risen from four to twelve. Over the same period Permira helped to grow and build numerous successful businesses across Europe including: Travelodge, global aviation services group Jet Aviation, Inmarsat, and Homebase. Damon currently represents Permira Funds on the board of Hugo Boss. Damon is co-founder of Social Business Trust, a Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a Governor of the Wellcome Trust. Damon was educated at the Gateway Grammar School, St John’s College, Cambridge, where he read Law and at Harvard Business School, where he gained an MBA.

Natasha Faith – Speaker Natasha Faith is the CEO and designer of LA DiOSA, a Hatton Garden-based luxury jewellery company which uses exquisite and rare gemstones. LA DiOSA was founded by Natasha Faith and Semhal Zemikael after traveling around the world at the age of 19. Since their first collection debuted at Harvey Nichols, LA DiOSA’s designs have adorned Michelle Obama, Kim Cattrall, Sienna Miller and the Duchess of Cambridge. LA DiOSA has won awards including Best Start-up and Entrepreneurs of The Year and LA DiOSA were also finalists at the UK Jewellery Awards for New Designer of the Year. Natasha and Semhal are Young Ambassadors to the Princes Trust, Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and also sit on the Junior Leadership Circle of Women for Women. As a young entrepreneur, Natasha will speak about the challenges facing fledgling business people in contemporary London.

Sonia Brown MBE – Speaker Sonia Brown is the founder and director of the National Black Women's Network; Let's Talk Business and Sistatalk. She has wide experience in business communication and project management, as well as developing the business case for more innovative and forward thinking programmes for organisational transformation in diversity issues. She is an authority on many areas of business, leadership and branding/marketing, as well as supporting individuals to achieve success in all areas of life. Sonia works across all government parties to increase BAME representation and participation in public life and enterprise.

Ric Lewis - Panellist Chairman of the Investment Committee and Chief Executive of Tristan Capital Partners, Ric is the Fund's Senior Portfolio Manager, responsible for overall Fund strategy and execution. Ric brings a 20+ year track record of international real estate investment management to Tristan. Prior to forming Tristan, Ric founded and served for several years as Chief Executive for Curzon Global Partners, the London based real estate investment company, and as Chief Investment Officer and Board Director of AEW Europe, its parent company, a pan-European real estate investment management business with 11 offices, 270 staff and €18 billion in assets under management. Prior to founding Curzon and helping to assemble AEW Europe, Ric was a Partner and Senior Managing Director of AEW Capital Management, a US based investment management business with 200 staff and $25 billion under management. Ric will be part of the panel that will take part in a Q&A after the speakers.

Tim Campbell – Chair Tim is the founder of Bright Ideas Trust, the charitable trust which he raised over £2.5m for, focusing on investing in businesses started by 16 - 30 year old NEETS in London. He established the foundation to help young people turn an idea into a reality, by providing funding and support to aid the business start-up process and it has grown to be a respected delivery partner for the Government's Start Up Loans programme and contributed to him being awarded the MBE for his services to Enterprise Culture. An alumnus of Middlesex University and London Business School, Tim has worked at a senior level in both the public and private sectors, highlights within London Underground and Alexander Mann Solutions respectively. He is the winner of the BBC TV show The Apprentice and is currently the Mayoral Ambassador for Training and Enterprise focusing on Apprenticeships. Having spoken to business audiences across the globe regarding the catalyst business can be within communities Tim is an excellent chair for the event.