Kike Oniwinde, Founder and CEO of BYP Network
"A lot of young black people have had to overcome all types of obstacles to be where they are today. They have achieved success in their corporate careers/businesses but may still have the feeling of 'what now..?' . BYP Network allows us to connect, relate to each other and ultimately grow together."
What made you want to start the Black Young Professionals Network (BYP Network)?
I was awarded a full athletics scholarship to the University of Florida to study for a masters and to compete in the javelin. Whilst there, I was in an unfamiliar environment outside of my comfort zone and I had to make new friends. I ended up meeting some amazing people who were all achieving great things, so when I came back to the UK I was keen to meet like-minded people and expand my network here also.
I began attending various networking events, but found them all too formal with those random polite butt ins on other people's conversations as the only way to break the ice. I wanted to help make a difference so that more of us could connect. From there, BYP Network was born.
Tell us about your educational background and journey into the corporate world
I grew up in East London and attended a local secondary school with less than 40% A*-C GCSE pass rate. Growing up was fun, but the grind for good grades was real! However, it all paid off as I achieved 8 A* and 3 A grades at GCSE, 3 A grades at A Level and went on to study Economics at the University of Nottingham. During all the years of my academic studies I had a part time job and trained for athletics - I'm a Great Britain Javelin thrower.
Studying economics, I gained an interest in Investment Banking, leading to my internships at Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Citi. However, balancing my athletics and investment banking proved difficult because there literally wasn't enough hours in the day to train and work!
From my experience in the corporate world, I found that a lot of young black people have had to overcome all types of obstacles to be where they are today. They have achieved success in their careers/businesses but may still have the feeling of 'what now..?'. BYP Network allows us to connect, relate to each other and ultimately grow together.
What are you working on now?
I now work for a Fin-Tech company which is a fast growing industry with a lot of opportunities, and I'm able to train alongside work so I have the best of both worlds! I represented England this year, and I'm currently top 5 in the country. However, my season was cut short due to having shoulder surgery, but I am on the mend and getting back to full fitness.
I'm working on the BYP Network App Launch and markerting plan, as well as expanding the events to other parts of the UK and abroad, but with London remaining the main hub.
What are your plans for the future?
BYP Network GROWTH!! My key focus, as stated above are the App and nationwide/international events. Another major goal of mine has always been to be a world class athlete so I'll keep working on making that a reality. Javelin throwers don't peak until around their 30's and I've still got all to play for, so watch this space!
Grab your tickets to the BYP Network App launch, happening on Saturday 16th September 2017 - www.bypnetworkapp.eventbrite.co.uk
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