Now in its eighth year, the awards highlight “exceptional business talent” across six industries: arts and media; consumer and luxury; start-ups; financial services; professional services; and STEM (science, tech, engineering and maths).
Among the 39 businesspeople shortlisted are Taponeswa Mavunga, director of Africa at Sony Music UK, Akima Paul-Lambert, litigation partner at Hogan Lovells, and Edgar Chibaka and Jamal Tahlil, co-founders of Leeds-based security firm First Response Group.
Sophie Chandauka, co-founder and chair of the awards, said: “Our finalists have delivered tremendous commercial value across sectors in volatile markets, where entrepreneurs in particular have been decimated.
“They have been strategic advisors to their companies and boards as global corporations are challenged by investors to address systemic racism.
“Despite the pandemic and social unrest, they are fiercely competitive, creative and commercially savvy. They are global in their outlook and ambition, and represent the very best of being British in a post-pandemic, post-Brexit Europe.”
Segun Osuntokun of law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner was named black British businessperson of 2020 at last year’s ceremony.
In an interview with The Telegraph, which is a media partner for the awards, Mr Osuntokun called for business leaders to ensure the momentum behind Black Lives Matter and improving diversity in the City was not just “a moment”.
This year’s winners will be revealed during a virtual ceremony in October.
Arts and media Rising Star
- Ahava-Shaffra Gray-Read, senior reputation manager, UK and Ireland, KFC
- Chanelle Harrigan, data strategy associate, director, Essence
- Hannah Chukwu, assistant editor, Penguin Random House
Arts and media Senior Leader
- Liara Barussi, artistic director and founder, Jukebox Collective
- Miya Knights, global content strategist, Poq Commerce
- Taponeswa Mavunga, director of Africa, Sony Music UK
Consumer and luxury Rising Star
- Samantha Newell and Alesha Bailey, co-founders, YARD + PARISH
- Simone Sargeant, commercial director, EMEA, McCormick
- Vese Aghoghovbia, founder and creator-in-chief, Philly & Friends
Consumer and luxury Senior Leader
- Alexandria Dauley, creative director, Dauley Designs
- Salome Ahenkora, chief executive, Chigwell Tours & Visits and Concept Consulting RMT
- Silika Shellie, head of future brands, Sainsbury’s
Entrepreneur Rising Star
- Alessandra Emily Bell, director, Coconautial Ltd
- Dr Ewoma Ukeleghe, doctor and company director, SKNDOCTOR
- Dr Opemiposi Adegbulu and Taiwo Adegbulu, co-founder, Omolola Jewellery
Entrepreneur Senior Leader
- Claudine Reid, director, PJs Community Services Ltd
- Edgar Chibaka and Jamal Tahlil, co-founder and directors, First Response Group Ltd
- Michael Kouri-Bent, managing director, Metropolitan Care Solutions
Financial services Rising Star
- Ash-Lee James, managing director, Weystone Financial
- Janet Onyia, project and programme manager, Accenture
- Jordon Clarke, IBD global ops project lead and blockchain lead, Morgan Stanley
Financial services Senior Leader
- Alwin E Swales, partner, PwC
- Kyle Williams, managing director and senior counsel, legal department, Goldman Sachs International
- Lara Oyesanya, general counsel and chief risk officer, Contis
Professional services Rising Star
- Jason Raeburn, partner, Baker McKenzie
- Josh Olomolaiye, senior manager, banking audit, KPMG
- Samuel Lawrence, director, CBRE
Professional Services Senior Leader
- Akima Paul-Lambert, litigation partner, Hogan Lovells
- David Frederick, managing director and founder, Marcus Bishop Associates
- Lindsey N Stewart, deputy chair, Audit Evolution board and senior investor engagement manager, KPMG
STEM Rising Star
- Esther Odekunle, senior scientist, antibody engineer, GlaxoSmithKline
- Nina Nduwayo, data scientist, Ravelin Technology
- Nnamdi Emelifeonwu, chief executive, Define
STEM Senior Leader
- Gareth Dauley, executive vice president, Pacific Green Technologies
- Gnilane Gueye-Turpin, executive director, JP Morgan
- Uzoamaka Nwamarah, adviser, climate change, The Commonwealth Secretariat, UK