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Thinking bigger: you don’t need permission – Eric Collins, CEO & Co-Founder, ImpactX Capital

About This Episode

“Black economic empowerment relies on thinking bigger than you may have ever imagined before. Much bigger.”

These are the words of Michael’s guest today, Eric Collins, and are contained in his new book, We Don’t Need Permission. It’s a clarion call to change the world for good, and it’s far more than the words of an author; because this is the story of an economic activist.

Eric’s career highlights include successfully building the value of companies including AOL, Time Warner and SwiftKey; working on President Obama’s Small Business Administration Council for underserved communities; as well as being named by Powerlist as one of the most influential black people in Britain and by the Financial Times in the UK’s Top 100 BAME leaders.

Now CEO of the London based venture firm Impact X, Eric has built a business with a double bottom line mission to advance progress and social mobility for underrepresented founders, and to generate returns for investors by funding the undiscovered and creating the extraordinary.

If you’re looking for the story of business as a force for good, this is it. Listen now.

Eric Collins, CEO & Co-Founder, ImpactX Capital

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Lockdown List

What is a book that has changed your life?

A Raisin in The Sun.  This play by Lorraine Hansberry was the first, by a Black woman, to be performed on Broadway (sometimes called the Great White Way).  The story of a family struggling internally and externally with change in the heat of the US Civil Rights era, is a universal narrative about upward mobility and progress.   What can we keep and what must we shed as we climb the ladder.  The more challenging question is can everyone make the climb with us.  Although revived and adapted many times for stage and screen, it is the written version that changed me for good.

What are you watching at the moment?

YouTube. The endless stream of delight and surprise I receive is truly a joy. I recommend that you immediately find a clip of Stevie Wonder and Tom Jones singing a medley of hits. Rarely have a baritone and tenor made such sweet harmony.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My parents, who deliberately chose to raise their family in the turbulent yet changing American South.

In one sentence, describe your ‘new normal’

Google Meeting and sneakers (aka trainers).

What is your best tip for life?

Get some sleep, a bit of exercise, some water, and a good friend or two.

A quote for life (if you have one)

As my religious father said “If you want your prayers answered, then get off your knees and hustle”.

What tracks are you listening to right now?

  • To groove: Chic / Nile Rodgers – I want your love (extended play version)
  • For inspiration: Kirk Franklin arrangement – Joyful, Joyful
  • To get me moving: Donna Summer – Last Dance
  • To relax me: Burt Bacharach / Hal David – A House is Not a Home (sung by Dionne Warwck, Luther Vandross or The Carpenters)
  • To remind me: Earth, Wind and Fire – September

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