Lorraine says that people are always pleasantly surprised to receive a call and are impressed by the additional personal touch. Building these links also enables them to connect business owners for the purpose of collaborating or buying from one another.
BBR have also added online events to keep supporting their members during the pandemic. “With COVID and everyone being stuck at home, we changed things and began offering online talks and Live events in our group,” Lorraine says. “We talk to businesspeople about how they got into business and allow them to share some of their skills and knowledge with our members.”
“People always say, ‘you and your team must be really busy!’” Huw says. “And I always say ‘team? What team? It’s just myself and my wife!’”
Lorraine and Huw both work full-time in education, and run and manage BBR voluntarily in their spare time. It keeps them very busy and takes up a lot of time, but they both believe in the project passionately. “If you believe in something, it’s important that you do it!” Huw says.
A few months ago, they sat down to discuss how they wanted BBR to evolve and what should come next.
As a result, BBR now has a new website, built from scratch by Lorraine. It allows anyone to find Black-owned businesses to support in a huge array of niches, from food and drink producers to marketing, bookkeeping, PA services, and much more besides. Its advertising spots allow businesses to promote their services.
Most excitingly, the BBR membership network is currently in development. “This will be a hub for any Black business owners who want to upskill or learn about business strategy, marketing, PR, and so on,” Lorraine says.
As the world starts to open back up following the pandemic, Lorraine and Huw intend to get back to visiting their members and holding live events. Though they are based in London, they are looking forward to travelling throughout the UK to promote and support their members’ businesses.
“We’ve reached a point that the Black community knows about the myriad of Black-owned businesses that are out there,” Huw says. “So now it’s time to open it up to the world so that everyone can see, find, and support Black businesses.”