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Inspiring diverse future leaders with Izzy Obeng, Founder, Foundervine

About This Episode

Izzy Obeng joins Michael on Change Makers this week. As founding director of the award-winning social enterprise Foundervine, she leads a small team with a big mission – to change the global face of entrepreneurship. She launched Foundervine in 2018 to help young leaders from under-represented backgrounds direct their entrepreneurial energy to the right place, start-up and accelerate their ideas. It has since helped over 2,000 diverse, future leaders create, test and sustain entrepreneurial ventures globally. Here Izzy shares her experiences that drove her growing up in Tottenham, the importance of ensuring all communities have a voice, and why she believes business is the fastest route to social change.

Izzy Obeng

As founding director of Foundervine, Izzy provides founders with access to training, mentoring and funding opportunities. Since 2018, 2,000 young people have been skilled by Foundervine programmes, $230,000+ raised with 62% female participation. She is an experienced public speaker and has helped people grow at global brands such as Just Eat, Facebook, PwC, Google, AirBnB and more. Izzy is a Non-Executive Director for Capital Enterprise, a body that has raised £814.7m for UK startups and a former trustee for Parkrun. In 2019, Izzy was named by Tech Nation as one of the 50 most influential black voices in UK tech. She now divides her time between the UK and West Africa, delivering start-up and scale-up acceleration programmes designed to transform the digital innovation ecosystem.

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Lockdown List

What is a book that has changed your life?

Homecoming by Yaa Gyasi

What are you watching in lockdown?

I don’t watch much TV (more of a podcast fan) but an avid Newsnight viewer

What is your lockdown soundtrack?

What’s Going on, Marvin Gaye

Don’t Rush, Young T & Bugsey

Psycho, Dave; Black, Dave;

Ja Ara E, Beyonce

Own It, Stormzy.

In one sentence, describe your new normal.

Screen fatigue, being in lockdown in Africa and team members I’ve never met

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

Michelle Obama – what she represented in her role as first lady and her impact on communities globally.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – her impact on African writing and feminism.

Afua Hirsch – her impact on journalism. Brit-ish was also a brilliant book.

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