Kike Oniwinde is the founder and CEO of BYP Network, a platform that connects black young professionals with each other and corporations. She has an economics degree from the University of Nottingham and an MSc in Management from the University of Florida, where she gained a full Track & Field Scholarship. The idea of BYP Network came after Kike studied abroad and met talented black students who she didn’t know existed. Once back in London, the lack of diversity in the workplace coupled with low opportunities to meet others in the city; prompted the idea.
In 2018, Kike was named as a Sky Woman in Technology Scholar, F-Factor Winner, New Entrepreneurs Foundation Winner and named in the Maserati top 100! She was invited to Paris on a business trade mission with London Mayor, Sadiq Khan; won a STEM Trailblazer Batons Award at Houses of Parliament and was invited to meet ex-CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt. Kike is one of the top 100 UK BAME leaders in tech, Forbes 30 under 30 and a World Economic Forum Global Shaper.
Kiki’s #BEYOUROWN BOSS Story
I’m Kike Oniwinde, the founder and CEO of BYP Network, a platform that connects black young professionals with each other and corporations. I studied Economics at the University of Nottingham and following this, I got an MSc in Management from the University of Florida, where I got the idea of BYP Network. Whilst studying there on a track and field scholarship, I met talented black students who I didn’t even know existed. Once I was back in London, this lack of diversity in the workplace coupled with low opportunities to meet others in the city prompted the idea.
My journey has been a whirlwind. Since its inception two years ago, there’s been a lot of achievements for BYP. I hope to see BYP continue to grow, and my biggest want is for BYP to keep connecting black professionals worldwide as well as having global hubs led by senior leaders and our ambassadors around the world. It’s to ensure that we keep changing the black narrative and we continue to show that black talent exists everywhere.
As an entrepreneur, there are always ups and downs, and I see all challenges as opportunities. Everything that I’ve seen as a failure or a hard time has proved useful – I’ve come to understand why it happened, and it’s been important for ensuring that it doesn’t happen a second time. I always learn from past experiences so it’s a positive! I’ve had my own personal achievements and I’ve been truly humbled to receive accolades such as being named in Forbes 30 under 30 and in the Maserati Top 100, but it’s been the BYP achievements that been particularly special.
One of our biggest highlights is hosting our first leadership conference this September where we’ll have senior leaders, keynote speakers and special guests, with partners such as Accenture, Bloomberg and the Guardian. Other big achievements include the launch of our podcast Why Not Lead?, our BYP Careers job board, the success and growth of our app, partnerships with companies such as SohoHouse, Accenture and Deloitte, among others, and rounding off 2018 with $250,000 in pre-seed funding and a net worth of £1.5m. Our highlights don’t just come from our business side, we are most excited when our community tell us their success stories – whether it’s meeting a mentor, making new friends or getting a job through our network.
I think the fact it’s still a conversation is a sign that there needs to be change. The fact it’s still a conversation of representation, equality, rights etc. shows that we need to shift the dial on how we view women in business. I want that changed. I want to see more women completely breaking barriers, trailblazing and not caring about the system we’re living in. I think for millennial women in business, we should be united to fighting injustice, pushing the bar and supporting each other, no matter what society places on us.
To #BEYOUROWN Boss in the 21st century as a young woman, it’s about having a vision and walking forward with it. I came up with BYP two years ago, and now it’s moved forward and is a global mission and organisation. The important thing to remember is to make an impact and make a profit. Anyone who wants to be a founder, just do it (but make sure you have savings first!).