East Midlands Black Business Network was born from a desire for change. All too often, black businesspeople and professionals are under-represented in business and in management positions. EMBBN is open to anyone who identifies themselves as being black or of African heritage. We want to promote black enterprise within the East Midlands region and provide a safe space for mentoring and support. Here is a link to our constitution.
 

We also want to build prosperous business relationships between the black community in the East Midlands and inspire and motivate the next generation of black entrepreneurs as we do so.
 

As individuals, we can achieve great things but together we can achieve even more. In a nutshell, EMBNN has four key components:

**EMBNN is non-profit making. All proceeds pay expenses and go back into the development of the project. Although currently privately owned and funded we plan to turn into a social enterprise by mid-2020**


Mark Esho

East Midlands IoD (Institute of Directors) Director of the Year 2019
 

Mark is a disabled British entrepreneur and founder and co-owner of both Easy Internet Services Ltd, Easy Internet Solutions Ltd and Dreme Ltd. At the age of five, he contracted polio, leaving him paralysed from the neck down. He was originally given a 10% chance of survival but was eventually able to regain limited mobility.

Due to the late effects of polio (post-polio syndrome) in 1999, he was forced to quit his full-time job. However, despite this setback, he went on to set up a number of successful businesses. He has won a number of business awards (National Diversity Award, IoD Director of Year Commendation) and in 2013 was invited to meet Prime Minister David Cameron at the launch of the government's Disability Confident initiative.

 

He’s also a finalist in the Institute of Directors (IoD) East Midlands Director of the Year awards 2019 and in 2018, his autobiography I Can I Will became a No.1 bestseller on Amazon.  He now spends his time running his businesses and giving talks to employers on the benefits of employing disabled people and talks elsewhere on resilience, overcoming boundaries and being a disabled entrepreneur.
 

He is passionate about giving back to the community and inspiring both this generation of business leaders and the generations to come.


David McFarlane 
 

David retired from the Metropolitan Police Service (New Scotland Yard), London after 30 years continued service. During this period he has been instrumental in establishing a national support project, hosted by the Home Office for ten years, as its national coordinator. He has assisted in initiating other groups across the Criminal Justice System and further afield. He has delivered many speeches and presentations locally, nationally and internationally on the subjects of Race, Diversity and Policing. 
 

Since his retirement, David has sat on numerous committees in various voluntary organisations in Leicestershire and London, deploying his extensive skills and knowledge obtained during a successful career in policing.  David has received numerous awards and commendations from the Home Office, Prison Service, National Black Police Associations United Kingdom and United States of America and others groups. He has used his knowledge and skills for training programmes and organisational advice. 
 

He also worked as a practice manager for a law firm in Leicestershire for five years and worked as a security officer for a security firm in London for six months. 
 


Gina Samuel

Gina is a co-Director and Solicitor at AGR Law. AGR Law celebrated its 2nd birthday as a regulated practice in May and has recently won the Leicestershire Law Society Small Firm of the Year. An award that the directors are very honoured and proud of.

 

Gina has been practising law for some 11+ years and has worked for national and regional firms. Gina has been living back in Leicester since the early 2000s and alongside her practise has volunteered in the 3rd sector.  She has sat on a number of management committees and works tirelessly to support the communities of Leicester.  As part of giving back, Gina donates advice to management committees of Leicester Rape Crisis and the City Retreat.  Both charities do great work meeting the needs of the vulnerable in Leicester. Gina is a Member at the Attenborough Learning Trust, recently stepping down as a Governor at a local primary school.

 

Gina has recently been appointed as a Committee Member of the Leicestershire Law Society. Gina is very excited to have the opportunity to raise awareness and development for the profession and hopes her involvement will complement the work she tries to do with young people, raising their aspirations and bringing more diversity into the legal world.


Ashiedu Joel

Ashiedu Joel (JP) is the founder of Ashioma Consults Limited with advisory retainers with agencies in the key service sectors. She is an experienced Strategic Management Consultant, Non-executive Director, Community Advocate and inter-faith practitioner. She has over a decades’ experience of supporting organisations, groups and individuals to engage constructively across racial, cultural and socio-environmental boundaries while promoting opportunities for shared learning and collaboration.

 

She has a deep commitment to improving cultural sensitivity, diversity, inclusion and belonging in minority communities and harnessing their impact on the development, growth and sustainability of wider society at large. Other areas of work include local youth leadership initiatives aimed at talent acquisition and growth with emphasis on the corporate and entrepreneurial sectors as well as various collaborative city-wide awareness and empowerment initiatives.  

 

Ashiedu is an Elected Member of Leicester City, representing Troon Ward.


Sandra Pollock

Sandra Pollock is a multi-award-winning Director with over three decades of experience in leadership, management, people development and organisational change. In addition to running two companies, she is also an author, Radio and TV Presenter, and founder of the East Midlands Women’s Awards. 

In her main business, Sandra works with CEOs, MDs and other senior management teams of SME’s and larger organisations to help them develop effective use of their people and their own management skills to grow their business and improve profits. 

 

Her expertise includes working in a range of business sectors including Banking, Human Resources, Transport, Social Care, NHS, Social Services, and the Voluntary sector having developed training programmes for Universities, Higher and Further education organisations as well as large corporates and blue-chip companies. 

 

Sandra has a MA from the University of Leicester, is a qualified Strategic Business Coach and Trainer, with accreditations from the Chartered Management Institute and the Institute of Consulting. Sandra has also been a Growth Accelerator on the Government Business Growth Service since 2010. 

 

Sandra has received numerous awards for her work with women in management, leadership and management and community development, including the CMI East Midlands Regional Presidents’ Award for Outstanding Achievement 2007, CMI East Midlands Regional Presidents’ Award and the CMI Outstanding Contribution Award 2010, for her work with Women in Management, was finalist in the African Caribbean Citizen Forum (ACCF) Business and Community Achievement Awards in 2012. Sandra also was awarded the Leicestershire Asian Business Association’s (LABA) Lifetime Achievement Award 2014, Finalist in the National PRECIOUS Awards 2016, and awarded the Lifetime Achievement WOW Women of the World Award 2017, and Finalist in the International Achievers Awards for Leadership Business 2018. 


 

Curtis Matthew award-winning SFEDI accredited business advisor with over 25 years’ experience in business start-up and development within the private, charitable and social enterprise sector. This entailed setting and supporting others with launching and developing businesses/projects that benefit individuals, communities and society. He is a firm believer that helping others is a good thing to do, creates stronger communities and helping to build a happier society for everyone: It's not all about money - we can also give our time, share ideas and put our energy into help others achieve success. 

 

He has worked with, trained and interacted with people from all walks of life. This includes working with disabled people and disadvantaged members of the community. He is a keen sportsperson, highly competitive, and enthusiastic individual. He has an agile and flexible approach, is imaginative, a great strategist, problem-solver and a determined self-starter. 

His key attributes are good listening, negotiation and problem-solving skills. Under-pined by a can-do attitude, persistent mindset, strong values, and the ability to think abstractly. It has often been described as having a good sense of humour, creative and dynamic approach to achieving targets, flexibility in changing situations, and the ability to adapt quickly.