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Wakuda Wins Instagram Small Business Mentorship

In November 2021, Wakuda was announced as one of the top 5 companies to win the Small Business Mentorship Programme, UK, in partnership with Instagram. 

With the coronavirus pandemic affecting businesses worldwide, it gave little growth to already established companies. However, the pandemic really hit the black community, especially those companies that were started by black entrepreneurs. 

In response to the Black Lives Matter Movement, we launched our brand in an effort to promote the voices and brands of black owned businesses. Our establishment was a response to create meaningful impacts on the black community and widen the sphere of black voices and businesses which have historically been limited. 

Instagram had launched the competition in an effort to celebrate those brands that showed resilience and creativity throughout the lockdown period, part of which the Black Lives Matter Movement entered into. 

The distressing time was paramount to the decline of many small businesses being unable to stay afloat with a steep decline in available work and business. As such, some were unable to continue and other brand’s reactive strategies failed to push forwards.

Yet, our proactive transition into the digital commerce world not only enabled the black community and its businesses to survive and keep forward momentum, but also thrive and catapult into a new world order. 

Due to such incredible efforts, Instagram and Small Business Mentorship offered us several unique opportunities, including:

  • £1000 ad credit 
  • An hour coaching call with Emma Mills-Sheffield, a well-renowned strategic business consultant
  • A content workshop with leading Instagram content creators in the UK
  • 3 hour-long coaching sessions with an Instagram product specialist per month. 

Michelle Oven CBE, the founder of Small Business Britain spoke to Retail Times on the quality and standard of the competition which saw over 500 applicants whittled down to just 5 winners. 

“We can’t wait to see these entrepreneurs thrive and go from strength to strength using the amazing power of digital”

Instagram’s very own brand development lead, Gord Ray, was also part of judging the competition. When looking at all of the incredible small businesses, he loved the creativity and inspiration that had gone into our brand and that he was overwhelmed with the sheer determination in the face of adversity. 

The coaching, mentorship and insights that will be offered to us is of incredible value that will help grow the business in ways that we never previously saw. Our transition into the online world, although challenging at times, was incredibly exciting and created opportunities that we never knew existed. 

With the expertise on offer, we can’t wait to continue to grow in the online space and in turn helping to grow the voices, services and products of Black-owned businesses. 

The Wakuda mission is simple: give Black-owned businesses the mainstream audience they deserve and narrow the gap between black entrepreneurs and their counterparts. 

Among us, other winner included:

  • Boki – sustainable gifts and homeware
  • Cucumber – a slow fashion brand with cutting edge fabric technology
  • Philly & Friends – a child lifestyle brand
  • Blacksmith London – a unisex jewellery brand supporting minority creatives and businesses.
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