Meet the three east London finalists for the Black British Business awards

With just one day to go until judges make their decisions on winners at The Black British Business Awards (BBBA), East London Lines spoke with three of the finalist from east London.

The BBBA began 6 years ago, as the brainchild of Sophie Chandauka and Melanie Eusebe. The awards began with the goal of ‘Celebrating the often unsung contributions of exceptional black business professionals and entrepreneurs.’

In the UK, those from BME backgrounds make up just over 1/5 of the total population.

According to a study conducted by CIPD, one in eight of the working-age population is from a BME background, yet they occupy only one in sixteen of top management positions. BME individuals continue to be underrepresented in business and professional positions.

In 2017 a government-backed review into race in the workplace found that helping BME people to progress in their careers at the same rate as their white counterparts could add £24bn to the UKs economy each year.

As of 2018, only 84 of the 1,048 director positions at the 100 top Financial Times Stock Exchange companies (FTSE) were held by BME individuals.

Dara Kirton

Dara Kirton is a finalist in the Professional Services Rising Star category of the BBBA.

Kirton has been a Senior Manager at PwC for the past 7 years. PwC ranks as the second-largest professional services firm in the world and is one of the Big Four auditors, along with Deloitte, EY, and KPMG. 

Kirton from Hackney, East London believes that in becoming successful in business ‘Relationship skills and emotional intelligence is key’.



When speaking to East London Lines about her involvement in business and her nomination Kirton said: “I am passionate about leading change and creating an impact, I truly believe that bringing a diverse set of people to a problem creates better solutions.

This nomination is amazing as the BBBA has a great reputation in the business for identifying and celebrating change-makers, leaders, and influencers and I feel honoured and privileged among them.” 

Jamie Tavares and Jen Scot

Jamie Tavares and Jen Scott are the co-founders of Hustles & Heels, an online network for women interested in business.

The pair from Redbridge, East London began their business in London in 2014. These co-founders have been nominated for awards in the Entrepreneur Rising Star category.

They told East London Lines: “Who you don’t know and what you don’t do are the only things that stand between you and success. By connecting with the right people and learning what you need to know, you’ll be able to overcome any challenge you face when starting or growing your business “.


Hanif Kara

Hanif Kara from Old Street Yard, East London is the final nominee from east London.

The Ugandan born entrepreneur has been nominated for the Entrepreneur Leader of the Year award.

In 2014, Kara was made a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Kara, co-founded AKT II,  a structural engineering firm in 1996. His work spans across 44 countries worldwide. Kara is also a Professor of Architectural Technology at Harvard University.


East London Lines asked Kara what inspires his work, he said: “At a macro level Improving the quality of life wherever possible through a creative approach to engineering having recognised the impact our built environment can have  on all of us ; at a micro level being involved in some of the most advanced designs with the most talented colleagues”.


The 2019 BBBA Awards Ceremony will take place on 3 October.

Leave a Reply