The Black Excellence Network was founded in April 2020 by black students:
What is the Black Excellence Network (B.E.N)?
The Black Excellence Network is a non-profit organisation, which aids the entry of Year 12, and Year 13 students into their preferred universities and courses. It is a network designed by black students for black students providing mentorship, facilitating knowledge sharing, resource provision, and support to students in order to aid their progression to tertiary education and beyond.
The team of 5 initially came to work together after they had a chance to encounter online attending my 2020 Vision Call, which encouraged networking and birthing opportunities in the COVID-19 pandemic. Since their launch, they have been able to amass a network consisting of over 500 mentees and mentors, 18 subject ambassadors, and a combined social following of 1500+ across LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. The network will enable students who may previously not have had the opportunity to receive tailored 1-1 encouragement and guidance for their aspirations. Black Excellence Network believes mentorship can help mentees’ confidence and their ability to excel and break the barriers they encounter in society.
How do they operate?
The platform works via mentees selecting a mentor within their subject area, who is taking a degree or studying at the universities they aspire to attend. The programme includes UCAS assistance, admissions test, and personal development workshops throughout the year for members of the network. As well as aiding progression within their mentee community, the B.E.N have sought partnerships with external organisations, which will allow students access to virtual internships, work experience, career-specific advice, and exposure. They currently have 9 partnerships in progress with a combination of universities, legal and finance organisations as well as technology companies.
How can you support?
In June 2020 they launched their ‘GoFundMe’ campaign to raise £3000 which will help the scheme in a range of areas from facilitating a technology-based mentorship platform to marketing and advertising to hosting their future networking events. This fundraiser is being promoted throughout their social media platforms as well as their mentorship and ambassadorial network.
B.E.N Final Words
As a black community, we must take some steps to realise our desire for change by creating such spaces for black students with dreams of going into university or apprenticeships. It should be noted however that for the black community to be seen, respected and acknowledged, our humanity should be the greatest element above our educational institution, occupation or academic attainment. Black Excellence is a sentiment in itself, which is not limited to higher education and the student community but encompasses the black community breaking into plains despite different barriers.