March 21, 2022

#29: The founding of Black Valley & the UK tech scene ft. Leke Sholuade


My guest for this episode is Leke Sholuade. Leke and I talk about his passion for tech, what influenced him to start the Black Valley program and what's the tech scene like in the UK. Leke started mentoring at University and worked for a social integration charity after University. We also do a deep dive on the aims of his Startup, Black Valley and much more. Have a listen.  

Here is a snapshot of a few things we talked about…

Introduction [0:00]

Where Did His Passion for Tech Come From? [01:26]

Why He Didn't Learn How to Code [03:58]

What is Black Valley? [05:17]

What Does the Tech Scene Look Like in the UK for Black People? [06:27]

How Can People Outside of the UK Get Involved in Black Valley? [15:13]

Getting a Job in Tech Program Vs. the Startup Program? [16:02]

When Did He Begin His Startup Program? [19:22]

What Inspired Him to Start the "Black Valley" Program? [20:13]

What Does the Tech Stuff and Startup Ecosystem Look Like in the UK? [25:08]

If He Had $1 Million to Start a Tech Company, What Kind of Company Would He Start? [27:34]

Does He See Himself Working for Any Tech Company in the Future? [29:06]

Key Takeaways...

(Show notes from our interview have been edited for clarity and brevity.)

  • "You start doing stuff that you feel passionate about, and then that leads you down to other things that like your skills are better aligned to."
  • "When I finished university, I decided to get a job just temporarily to actually decide, you know, I'm going to just stay here for three months while I figure out my life. That three months turn into four years of my life…."
  • "I think everyone has their strengths. My strength is probably not the technical part. I think I'm uncomfortable with that people side of things, people focus and now starting my own company…."
  • "Speak to a Black person, and they will tell you bias they have experienced like growing up, school, work, you know people judging them on how they feel like they should act in the workplace, or the ability just based on the color of their skin…."
  • "I think the role of a mentor is someone that's been there before you and able to show you the path…."
  • "I was quite scared of COVID. I didn't want to go out into it. So, then the other question, what can I do differently to try and think about this and solve this issue…."
  • "I've always been a mentor, like I'm still mentoring now. Mentorship is something that means a lot to me and has added a positive impact in my life…."
  • "I think if you were in the right environment, with the right money, with the right infrastructure behind you, with the right team already made in place, there's nothing stopping you to make a bigger impact…."
  • "Microsoft seems like a really cool place. I say that because of like speaking to their staff, the culture there sounds great. Like from the outside looking in and you know, it might be different when you're inside…."
  • "I think Microsoft sounds like they care about people. They put culture first, again, from the outside looking in; whatever they're producing, they want to make the world a better place. That would probably be okay if I can get a job there, might be quite exciting.

Where to Find Leke Sholuade & Black Valley

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/blackvalley/ 

LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/leke-sholuade-74042875 

Twitter: @blackvalleyhq 

Instagram: @blackvalleyhq

Website: https://www.blackvalley.co.uk/ 

Transcript

Leke:

And I realized, you know, the startup world, like I've always been quiet Youpreneur but I just think know it was called startup. You know, you have these ideas in your head. They never really get off the ground. I came to realize what I was doing was what these people were doing.

The death or Dortch Floyd in 2020 was a catalyst for like a. And when she was influenced to start black valley. A mentoring program and community that aims to provide tech industry access to the black community. Black valley aims to increase representation in tech and social mobility of the black community. In which those new to the space will have all the mentor support and network. They need to thrive. Hello, and welcome back to the black enterprise network. The podcast that shares the stories of black professionals and tech and entrepreneurship. And this episode luck. And I talk about how he got into this space, the founding of the black valley program. And what the tech scene is like in the UK. I hope you enjoy it also like a, I'm sorry for mispronouncing your name in the previous episode. Also, if you haven't already be sure to check out our podcast website@blackenterprisenetwork.fm. There's going to be detailed show notes and resources listed on each episode page. And this will also continue to be updated.

Kimmiko J:

I kind of just want to really learn about what led to you getting passionate about the tech space. Because from what I could tell you, you know, you kind of started in sales and biz-dev business development, but where did that passion for tech come from?

Leke:

Yeah, I think I just fell into it really. I would say I'm the most technical person. It's a strange way of life, life in a way, like almost you start doing stuff that you feel passionate about and then that leads you down. Or the things that like your skills are, are better aligned to really the journey like probably started from university days. So I did a psychology. I was doing my degree program. I was a mentor. We have like a program here in the UK that was mentoring on whilst doing that mentoring program. I loved you know, that process of like supporting and helping young people will go away for three periods to support them. So it wasn't that program. We were like, actually, I really enjoyed this and really care about what this organization stood for. And when I finished university, I decided to get a job just to really actually decide, you know, my ugly. Then, you know, I'm going to just stay here for three months while I figure out. That's three months done into four years of my life. Oh, it was great. It was great for a yes. I lent a lot, like, you know, it was really cool because it was a charity, it was a charity with a purpose. Like it was a social integration charity. And the purpose of it was to try and bring people together from different backgrounds and break these invisible barriers or invisible walls that we all have sometimes. And yeah, everyone that was there were really cool people. They were passionate. Most people were. Yeah. Yeah, they're really cool organizational culture at the same time was tough, right? Because it was a charity team means that, you know, you worked a lot, but not a love, a lot of money and the lowest expected of you. So it can be quite tiring sometimes, but I learned to love it in that process around, you know, as the year went on, you get promoted. So things that I became like a, into a manager role. So I was managing people as well and responsible for areas. And I think that experience was then really valuable. When a tech company in London was starting up, it was an education tech company. They wanted some experience. We'd like dealing with schools around the UK. So my experience was quite transferrable because of that role. I was working with schools across the UK as well. So I worked for them like business development and money. And that was my introduction to tech. So I fell into that, but that role was really exciting because it was a startup. When I joined, I think we had like seven, eight people within the office. It wasn't like the first portfolio phase. We are like Thursdays days where we are this Italian for the designer that his wife used to cook for us. And we had like a, does they get together? They have, Barbara was really cool. And I realized, you know, the startup world, like I've always been quiet Youpreneur but I just think know it was called startup. You know, you have these ideas in your head. They never really get off the ground. I came to realize what I was doing was what these people were doing. As I said, they added a bit more money behind them going to be more strategy around that already. And that was kind of my, yeah. My introduction to start award really, and tech.

Kimmiko J:

So have you ever learned how to code? Can I just jump into that point? No.

Leke:

No, I don't think I have an interest in, I think everyone has their strengths. My strengths is probably not the technical part. I think I'm comfortable with that. People side of things, people focus. And now starting my own company, like try and learn about vision and center vision. And I'm trying to get the right people on that bus to drive that vision.

Kimmiko J:

You don't need to learn how to code, to give people jobs in tech. So that's pretty cool.

Leke:

Yeah. Yeah. Like I'm not, I'm not called them. I'm not technical. I love that passion of speaking to people that are interested within the industry and actually feel we're, you know, we're black valuable. We, what we're trying to do, it's important. Maybe I tell myself that's not true. Like in, like in, into the technical part. And I'm more try to see maybe like, you know, the psychological power of like what we're trying to do and the value of our we're trying to get there really. And I think he's as well because of my role is good to have like a sales and business background as well. Uh, because most of my day-to-day is, is telling people our story and, you know, and trying to get them on this possible what we're trying to do and to get them on board on why we're trying to do that. They keep saying that, you know, to put it quite simply is quiet sales. Every road needs to be comfortable speaking with people. I need to convert content without trying to convince people about what you're trying to do and why they should get.

Kimmiko J:

What is black valley?

Leke:

I think the easiest way I try and describe this to people is I use an analogy of like a coffee shop. That valleys. This is really real. To me, it's a coffee shop that exists and that coffee shop as this, to serve one purpose, which is to champion that people in tech and what that looks like easy, you know, as a black talent, you come into that coffee shop, you know, your little. And what you're looking to get at that coffee shop is experience, land your first role, or you're looking to get that, that coffee shop could be your you're trying to climb that career ladder and progress into what you're doing or start your own tech company. Right. Because you've got a great idea. You're not quite sure where to go, but within this coffee shop is everything you need to try. You know, you've got your. Yeah, people that are experienced and, you know, they want to support you by mentoring you to land your role. You've got people working within different areas within industry that wants to champion you and connect you, connect the dots for you. Once you launch your own startup and everyone there, you know, as their role to play. And they, they they're there to serve that purpose and junkie you really just simply put, we are community that champions black people to drive within technology.

Kimmiko J:

Yeah, I love to hear it because I don't know. What, what does the texting look like over there for black people?

Leke:

I think it's similar, like across the globe. I think one of the things that I find as well, there's two parties involved, you know, there's black talent themselves looking to get into the rows and feeling like, you know, there isn't roaster out there for them, or that's visible more visible to them. And then you have the other side of the coin, which is these organizations that claims that they can't find the talent. Right? So you have this issue of peop one side of the coin, trying to, I guess, recruit people into rows, but say to kind of find, then you have one side of the coin saying, they're trying to assess this. But they can't, they don't know where the Rosa, so you have this disconnect there. Really? So the problem is definitely the most, their complaint within the UK are dominated by, you know, your white male. Yeah. And most of the roles. And I have empathy for both sides. You know, speaking to myself detected me that came out of, I would say, was quite open to own diverse people. When we do application, we didn't get at that best application. And I'm not saying that you can just stop there right there. There's probably reasons why they didn't get the diverse application. And hopefully this is. And the position like that valley and many out there, I tried to address specifically within the tech scene, within the UK, like myself, or even more importantly, the organizations, I probably should mention that siding could work as well. You know, even before black valley, we have a good organization called coding, black females. And I think that actually they attract some, yeah, some, some people from us as well, and their mission is quite simple. Really. It's like, you know, to equip black females, uh, we call the skills. To enter rows within tech, which is great, you know, great mission. We have the integration as well called PYP, and they try and connect that people to professional roles and just within tech boards within spaces in general. So there are quite a few organizations being set up to address the issue. And I think now relations are even more aware of like the need for diversity. It's more at the forefront of their thinking, especially after what happened may last year around the murder of judge flow. So I think, you know, when like a really important topic, and so there's loads of things that's been set up to try and address that. And it just to make sure these things are not a gimmick and they are really doing what they say on the plate and they are trying to address the issue.

Kimmiko J:

Yeah, we won't get too deep into that, but, and it's a conversation that's been coming up recently, you know, about how last summer, I'm sure you saw the posts everywhere from LinkedIn to Twitter, to Facebook, all these companies claiming their support. Right. And you know, there's been some diverse diversity reports coming out of them. Really not. Walking walking the walk of what they were preaching last summer. So for some companies, it was a gimmick, but

Leke:

yeah, it's a frustrating one actually. For me, like trying to steer the ship for black valley, I find it quite frustrating because you know, these organizations say they want to help and they want to, you know, support that felons. And you know, what we're doing is essentially that really, and then you speak to them, your series of conversations and it feels like it doesn't go anywhere because I guess just on a stand, as you know, it doesn't feel fit their model of what ops should look like. And what else you look like to them is, you know, breaking their job more than posting jobs on job boards. Sometimes, you know what else she look like? And again, I think Elton looks like all different many areas, not just one thing. It might be creating an employee resource group or always, which is internal and probably needed well, like I think these organizations are not quite sure how to make him um, is war is war, um, is the feeling I get. And when they do speak to envision like a self that's trying to, you know, serve the community specifically to solve the issue that they're trying to address, they're not sure how to connect with us and work with them. Uh, or meet us really. And I guess that's kind of why I need to try and figure out really, how do we in a wedding good work and we're trying to solve every problem. Yeah. Are, can we connect with these organizations one to solve the problem waste each and for them really? Cause I think they do care. I think it would be unfair to say actually most. Um, most do care most, do you want to make a difference, you know, except one or two people, which I'm not gonna mention names for the sake of your podcast. I've made statements recently saying, you know, employees should keep politics out of work or, you know, they just focused on emissions. So they shouldn't talk about their beliefs as our work, which I think is not, it's not great. But besides that, I think most organizations do want to make a difference. Do you care? One of the things I find that, I mean, this is a long answer to your question is it takes a while for big organizations to make a decisions. Like it takes a while. Like you chat to one of the, like in I've I've spoken to quite a few of the big tech companies and there's like seven people that you're conversating with about different things, you know? So this changes, it takes a while. So for, you know, for a company like myself, where, what I joke is the main person making those decisions myself. But these companies like they need like a up process, you know, there's a lot of in the apples. I think there's two sides of the coin. I think we know we need to be patients with personalization. I think they are trying to do stuff, but the pace that they're doing it, if we're being honest, it's probably not as quick as we needed to be. And we probably need to give them maybe more accountable. And actually that was, that was one of the frustration of why as Diablo valley actually interesting enough, which is when these organizations are making statement may lie. Like I was frustrated cause I knew, you know, I've been there before. Like I've like, I just felt like that day Jeff grew momentum. Okay, cool. I've been there before and what's going to happen a year down the line. It's a shame that a year down the line, we're having the same conversation again, but I'm not surprised by that. And then if you are, I'm not really surprised by that.

Kimmiko J:

Yeah. I'm not surprised. Just upset. Yeah. And the last point I'll make is like it, I don't know, they like kind of put the way I kind of imagine it and describe it to people is like, they kind of just put these minor band-aids these very small band-aids on the bigger problem. And by that, I mean, just for example, lots of accelerator programs were creating these. Separate programs for black founders, right. To support black founders and same for content creators there, YouTube even put out this cool thing for black content creators, and you can get funding to build out your channel or whatever you were trying to do. And the same thing for podcasting. Yeah. Yeah. Yada, yada, but you know, so far it just seems like it was a, we'll see what happens this summer when those app, if the applications open up again, but they just seem like one-time things of like, this is our service. For the next five years. And that's, that's it. I mean, I don't know I'm going to be, I feel like everybody in the black tech community is going to be monitoring things over the next two, three years to see if there have been any changes. Cause I agree with you. I think things do take time to kind of see some results, you know? Cause it does take time to figure out how do we find black talent? Yeah, yeah. Yada, but my pushback with that is. This has been an ongoing problem before last summer, just

Leke:

since you mentioned the really key point around that, which is like putting band-aids on. Yeah. What we saw last summer was in, is the one that's been out there for years, you know, is the biases years of oppression towards black people. We like speak to the black person and they will tell you bias. If they have experience like growing up school work, you know, people judging them on how they feel like they should act in the workplace or the ability just based on, you know, the color of their skin organization, making a statement, not saying we care about that. People was going to be bandages on wood. And then the real question becomes, you know, Stop the wounds from occur in the first place, I think is the waste is where their real thinking begins. And I think that takes a long-term approach and long-term thinking, and hopefully that's what we're trying to do. A black valley really like, you know, that long-term approach. My bet. I think my big bet is there is biases against black people. We can argue against that, but are, can we change that for me? We need to imagine a world where, okay, where is the, what going in SBS time? And whether we like you're not, the world is going to be dominated by technology, right? That's a space that's essential for us to be a power, a space that we need to be influential. Because if I'm not influential in that space, the same condition that we having now, I'm going to be able to have that conversation. They gained the kissing of productivity bias. That was us being sent up with a represent. Also tell us stories the way they should tell our stories. And this is why making sure we're represented within that industry. The comms really important, really, because otherwise we'll be left behind.

Kimmiko J:

Yeah. I mean, I can thankfully say we won't be because of how hard this community fights to get to where they are now. We're not going to be left behind. I mean, so I'm not, I'm not worried about that part hopefully, but a follow up, I kinda just have is like, is black valley only available to those in the UK? And if it is, I mean, is there a way for anybody in the U S to get involved, whether that's like being in the program or being a volunteer, being a mentor, like how can people. And the U S get involved, do even outside of the U S I don't know who listens to this, so,

Leke:

no, that's awesome. Yeah. So we actually global it's crazy. I guess, you know, this is the magic of style, something during a pandemic. That means you're part of a global community. Really, when we launched most of, uh, applications came from the UK because we're based in the UK applications from us, from Canada. From Nigeria, our current courts, you know that this then that's a Kenya where people from Germany apply. So the same question to your question is, you know, is open to anyone. The only criteria is you have to be black or Ms. Black heritage, but you could take part in a program and show some. So, and we're looking for potential to show that you have an interest within that industry that you want to get into.

Kimmiko J:

Yeah. So I guess you don't have to go too deep into it. Cause I know people have Google, but at a, at a high level, what is the. The getting a job in tech program looked like versus the startup program.

Leke:

Great question. So for the. Currently, why should they strictly we've we've done three programs. Now we had a pilot program, just test the idea in September, we had the January program and we had like an April program that's been going on and the next week, and those are where just one program that you could take part in. And now we've learned from that. We know we've had a lot of success where people got jobs, you know, we have like a good news channel that we appreciate the governor was every Friday. And what we've realized is that to even take that next, never forward, we need to separate people are looking to, to get a job without looking to start their own tech related. Our startup program. We're currently redesigning that. Ideally what that would look like is again, still using the same model of that community, of the black community. So you have access to a community of supportive people, and you'd be paired as a startup founder and mentor within the space that you're looking to start your business in, which is again, really valuable. The other layer to that when we formed partnerships with organization called founders factory, which is a startup incubator based in the UK. So we're going to be leveraging the experience that network. To make sure I find this, not only get the mentoring support, which is important, but he did get access to like DC network. Duck would invest in them as well. So if there's any other resources that they might need feedback on their pitch, deck feedback on their ideas, because this completes my experience and we have our data in terms of the career access program. Again, that's really simple. What we're trying to do is least I think the role of a mentor is someone that's been there before you and able to show you the. So, what we do is we pair you up with a mentor. That's an idea of that's already been in the industry. So a minimum of three experts. So let's say you're looking to be a product designer. You'd be paired with their products. That's ideally within your space. Let's say that could be thinset for example. And it's an eight week program. So week one is about getting to know you. We know we have like a great motivational speaker back from them for a walk with Aaron Lawson, he comes to speak to your buy-now, knowing your why, you know, what you want to get through the program. And they said we had that big lunch and then people set goals about what they want to get off of the HBS. For the rest of their journey with career-ready and week two or week three is what we call like a technical week. So, which is more around understanding, you know, your technical skills and then are your mental therapy develop that, you know, so specifically, you know, there, you need to know where you are because typically most of our. People are applying for our program, have like done the coding bootcamp or the self-taught to YouTube and things a lot. And that's quite different in, as you probably know, to actually working on the real on the real challenge or every designer, every product. So this is then the role of the mentor to kind of like help you see how to do that. Really. We fall, we try to, you know, run some workshops around like LinkedIn CV setting and stuff like that. Just to prepare you more for the, for the world. Currently we five, six and seven is about practical. So working in your portfolio with your mentor, and then we wrap everything up in week eight, we're going to look at what that practical budgets look like, because he is quiet. We want it to be as practical as possible. So people get real life experience. So we're going to edit that. So it might look like something like an Amazon, where in the outreach program, we run like a concern that you get to work with different. Within the quarterly ad to reach, you know, to solve a problem and, and carry on if people want to carry on working on, on the idea. Really. So that's kind of where we ask. So everything feels a bit experimental at the moment and we're just seeing what works and what sticks, but we have some good success with that. And hopefully I would like, you know, create, iterate, learn, and then create against process. Really.

Kimmiko J:

And when did you, when did you guys start this?

Leke:

Yeah. Great question. So we, as an idea, as a concept, it was started in June last year. So June, 2020, and it was really like a quick turnaround. So the IES, you could make an app. We call it annual leave in the UK and it was going to America, but like why now? Because everything is like, just open go. So the idea was in June, September, we had our first pilot program. So literally I like two months to get with and started and going. Yeah, it isn't a fun ride, but you can imagine it'd be quite a lot as well. But the good thing about this kind of thing is, you know, the momentum of the men's is great. So we need to like, you know, ride that momentum and get as many, as many people through what we're trying to do as much as possible.

Kimmiko J:

Was it that summer of George Floyd and all the black lives matter stuff that inspired the idea? Or was it something that was always on your mind before.

Leke:

Under a percent. I think it was like the events of last summer. We touched me already around like putting blast on the wound for me personally. Like I felt like I've been here before and I wanted to do something to know. Interestingly, like, you know, in the UK, people were protesting as well, like going out to protest by COVID Christian. So the data were meant to protest the UK. Actually, we had a check service that day, which meant like I was in charge of like setting up the online and when the were using zoom feature. It was my role to set out. So I couldn't just abandon that I'm not there. So for me, I was upset with myself that I couldn't do anything practical for my, you know, this is like a, it felt like a key period in like my lifetime, my generation. Right. So I'm the affects affects me and affects my, my generation. And I wasn't able to be a part of that for that reason. And the other reason was I was actually like, quite scared of COVID. I didn't want to go out into it. So then the other question, what can I do differently to try and think about this and solve this issue? And then as you, do you start thinking about your experience on the, what can I do to give back for me? I think I mentioned earlier, I've always been a mentor. Like I'm still mentoring now. Like mentorship is something that means a lot to me. As added positive impact in my life. Like when I was, you know, thinking about, you know, interestingly when I was like 15, 16, which is the age in the UK, you're starting to think about going into like, you know, the nest state of education, which will be called college. And I wasn't sure what that direction looks like for me, but luckily I mentor kind of like asked me the question. What about university of Utah? The university? I think where that question sound like that got me thinking. Opportunities like, you know, things that maybe my teachers at school as I'm really, you know, because I was a bit naughty at school. Um, it'd be like trouble so much to say. And I don't blame the teachers maybe for not seeing that potential in me because, you know, sometimes we say, you know, teachers are bad, but to be honest, I was quite cheeky. So I, yeah, they probably were quite happy to get rid of me once that periods came into play. So I think so for someone just to ask me that question, just so like, I just felt like, wow, you think I'm capable of going. And then, you know, at some point you, they kept reiterating to me about, you know, yeah. You could do, you know, we believe in and stuff like that. So because long story short, I seen someone that impact that believe in me is something that I, I know how powerful that can be. So I thought, okay, quit. So we asked something that okay, to create change when you know, something like that, really in my, in my opinion, how can we advance that people forward? And as the, as the. And then there's this other thing that likes funny, we mentioned about like your life experiences within my job that I did in the charity, what was about social integration, right on getting people to mix that might not be, that might have like a barrier by understanding each other. If we're solving the issue like black Tobias. And so as black people, I think authentically black spaces are great space to try and solve that. But I think as well as that, we need to try and like bring other paper along as well. So allies and people that care about the issue. So interestingly at that van, our mentors and not just blackout mentors are there from our background as long as they care about our issue. So we, I had a conversation with every mentor beforehand. So I've spoken with, I think we've got about one 40 plus mentors important. And I've spoken to other people at some point between June last year and now. Yeah. So I guess, so when it came to like last year, June using like, thinking about my experience, I to create change, I realized that you have to create something that people experience something over like an iMessage. Period. And then you try and sustain that after that. So that's kind of what we're trying to do in that valley. So actually the program is eight weeks long, but hopefully the program is the stout people's journey because what we're creating is this coffee shop that would always be there that they could drop in and out when they want to get support, if they have questions and we have own workloads that people could jump in and either work in the code and mental ski jumping and support them. We know we have like a request. I know that people could ask questions. We have like a job or that people share resources. We use slack as a community, as you mentioned, actually, for people that are familiar with slack on the podcast. So that's a great community for them as well. Like, you know, to try and like push it forward. Really. And I guess, you know, at some point the vision might be in a way to have actually a physical space where this in a black family becomes like a physical space where you come into this space and you know, that's what this space is there, you know? And it could be like, if you're a founder coworking spaces there too, you too. And I think he's trying to create that atmosphere for the people really, and making sure like that's assessable. Right. And like you see someone does it. To jump in. And I luckily now in that valley is that there's not only one people, you've got a community of like one foot your closest to right now that they are to say, you know what we believe in you, wherever your goals are, we're there to help you reach that goal. So I think that's quite powerful in itself. Isn't it?

Kimmiko J:

Yeah. A hundred percent. I agree. It's, it's powerful. I mean, for most of us going through the texture. As a black person, or even sometimes where it says a black woman, you don't really hear those words of affirmation affirmation, or get that mentorship. So really happy to see the work you guys are doing. The last thing I would kind of ask related to the UK tech stuff is like, I know I didn't paint the best picture, um, the tech scene in California, but yeah. Yeah. What is the tech scene and startup ecosystem kind of look like over there?

Leke:

I feel like I should be quite open and honest is a space I'm still learning about as well. And I'm navigating that right from worst thing. So I feel like he's quite good. But I feel like he has his own problems as well, like diversity assets, you know, it's about what you know, and not necessarily what you know, but overall, I feel like there are communities trying to do work similar to black valley drive, trying to make sure those opportunity and those assets are not only accessible to a, if you look a certain way, like, you know, the essence of it to everyone and then just creating that equity really. And I think that's really. I think, you know, it feels quite special at the moment, actually. Like I think, and I'm quite positively, I think at the moment, from what I'm seeing, I feel like there are a lot of organizations out there, like giving their roses, like doing incredible work on the grassroots is funny as any, like, we feel like we have to create our own stuff to see almost like compete with our white counterpart, which is probably in the shame yourself. But at the same time, I feel like it's quite a sight and really, you know, it's like, If you don't give us, we'll create our own way of dealing with the RSO. And I feel like people are starting to pay notes notice too, that if you're a black founder or a, and that's, to me that's exciting. And I think we're starting to hear more positive stories about, you know, about black entrepreneurs doing great, good things within the UK, you know, raising money and things like that. Really I'm trying. Yeah. Like not like breaking the status quo, really. I think, you know, maybe because I wasn't aware of this thing, like people raising money, wasn't something that I was familiar with or even what VC, I think I became aware of it in the past year or so, which sounds crazy. Right. But I think that's awfully, like that's been brought forward to most of the mainstream and I think that's the really important thing. Like, you know, these things are there, but actually, you know, are, do we make sure like someone. That's not in the atmosphere, like knows that they're like knows they assessable and notices for the person that looks like them and sort of thing. So, yeah, I think it's just making sure you're flagging those opportunities. Really. Yeah. That's probably where I'll stay really, but it feels very exciting at the moment.

Kimmiko J:

Yeah. Yeah. Kind of same here. There's it seems like I know a lot about tech and Silicon valley. I'm still here. New to the space too. I mean, like you said, there's just so much to learn from VC to investing to tech, to all these new roles that are being created and the tech industry. I don't know. I don't expect anybody to be a super genius tech, but if you had $1 million to start a tech company, what kind of tech company would you start?

Leke:

I mean, if I don't know that clearly what that content will look like, but I'll try and make my life as easy as possible because I feel like what I currently do is quite a love at work, you know, to, to get things moving and things going in the right direction. I think the key thing that I would try and solve for people who would probably be around either social media, Or around some sort of like, like drop shipping, so like marketplace business. Cause I think there's a lot of people within that space now. And I think that space is excited, right? Because he allows the average person to, to have the freedom, to create their own business without, you know, not meeting that much capital. So maybe something around that. How can we make sure that the average person as an asset to a, to as easy as possible. To make the idea a reality. I don't know what that looked like yet, but it would be something around that, making it easier for the average Joe, to get going with a business idea,

Kimmiko J:

probably marketplaces are they're underrated ideas. Like it's just, like you said, it's a complicated thing, but you can't make a business out of it. I think about what kind of marketplaces I would build, but we're not there yet, but I see a good idea. Good idea in the works.

Leke:

Give them us on a run for his money, I

Kimmiko J:

guess no one knows their future, but would you ever see yourself working at any, any tech company, whether it's in the us or the UK and it doesn't have to be killer?

Leke:

Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I think I love what I'm doing at one, creating a black value at the moment, like, and it's exciting and scary at the same time. But when you're starting your own, your own thing, like, you know, the passion is like takes over with. So, you know, there are days where I am long hours, like this big, particularly like by the time was Friday, I was spent, I was ready for the weekend, but it makes your work well, especially like, because of the purpose and the mission that we are behind, what we're doing. I think for me, the key thing is even things like coming out the university and working for HRET how is want to work for something I believe. So he's not necessarily like what I do, but why, like, you know, so if there's a complaint that I feel like it's really aligned with my mission and they have a product that I believe in. Yeah. I'd love to. And I think. It's hard. Like, you know, it's really hard trying to get something going as a small company. Right. I think actually, if you were in the right environment with the right money with writing fracture infrastructure behind you, with the right team already made in place, uh, there's nothing stopping you to make. You could make a bigger, a bigger impact, really, without those resources that you're actually are actually like first, like, you know that you're at your Beck and call. There's your macro stuff you do. And as starting to speak to those innovations, Microsoft seems like a really cool place. I say that because of like speaking to their staff, the culture, there sounds great. Like from the outside looking in and you know, it might be different when you're inside, but I think Microsoft sounds like they care about people. They put like culture first and you know, they, again, from the outside looking in like whatever they're producing, they want to, you know, make the weather better. That would probably be okay if I can get a job there. Be quite excited.

Kimmiko J:

Yeah. Yeah. I know. I've talked to way too many Microsoft people. I mean, I've never heard a negative thing. Well, I mean, aside from a few one or two people, but other than that, it's been perfect so far, but yeah, that's, that's all I have for you. Like a, it's been a pleasure having you on and yeah. Where can people find you check out black valley or anything else you want?

Leke:

Yeah. No, definitely. Thank you. I thank you for having me on. It's been a real pleasure and thank you for allowing me to share like my story of like, why is there a black valley and more importantly to just have a conversation about, you know, art, can we like really move things forward by creating equity within tech really black valley excitedly, we have a website. So please check. Check us out. Is black valley DACA, the UK we're looking for mentors, specifically black mentors. Three or more experience within like product designer, software developer, UX, UI, and data science. So if you hear in this podcast and what I said about giving back and supporting people through mentoring aligns with your value. Yeah. Just go on the website and there's a mental tab, click on, you know, a little form and hopefully you get it. I with myself at some point at the moment we are social media as well. We're trying to be better by telling our story and sharing that on social media. If you want to follow a journey for those on Instagram and Twitter and that's black valley HQ is our Andrew and those medium as well. We are on LinkedIn as well. I'm a little bit more active on LinkedIn and black valley. I'm on LinkedIn as well. I'm happy to connect with anyone, always like connecting, just to increase my network in and speak to people that are passionate about this space. I think this space, like I said, Like we can not afford not to live within this space. We cannot afford not to be, be thought leaders within the space and being finished. Really. So I'm keen to hear from thought leaders and people that are working in all these amazing companies about how can we make sure that one, you know, where I presented those complaints to, uh, we have a fair chance of climbing the ladder with those complaints and three in a wherever these companies are producing. It's not bias dozers.

Kimmiko J:

Yeah. Powerful ending, and best way to end the show. Thanks for coming.

Leke:

No problem. Thank you.

Do check out black valley and all the programs available. They have a ton of cohorts for you to be a part of, if you're looking to get into tech or be a first time founder. The next guest for the show will be cam perry a tech cons creator and web developer see you then