Whether or not she knew it at the time, these were all traits that would prove extremely useful in her future career as the founder of the Black Young Professionals (BYP) Network, which has been colloquially described as “LinkedIn for black professionals”.
In 2016, Oniwinde set up the company to help black professionals connect with each other, as well as corporate organisations. The decision was extremely timely, due to a report released around the same time showing that black and Asian graduates were two and a half times as likely to be unemployed than their white peers. More than three years on, evidence shows racial bias in employment is widespread. In January 2019, the Guardian reported that black Britons and those of south Asian origin faced shocking discrimination at levels unchanged since the 1960s.
BYP Network aims to address such glaring inequalities by connecting professionals for mentorship, collaboration and to share job opportunities.
Oniwinde grew up in east London and excelled at school. She studied at university while also competing as a javelin thrower. Her abilities led to a track and field scholarship at the University of Florida but while there, her interest in the business world took her in other directions.
“[In the US] I met exceptional black students and professionals, like those that I met in London,” she says. “I just thought that there were a lot of us and we need to connect on a global scale, yet there isn’t really a way to do that.”
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