By Toby Porter
A businesswoman is one of only 19 across Europe to be nominated for an award for creating a firm which helps the community and is also sustainable.
Ebinehita Iyere, founder of Milk Honey Bees from Lambeth has been announced as a finalist at the 2021 NatWest Everywoman Awards.
Ms Iyere is a finalist in the Gaia category, which is awarded to the most inspirational and successful female founder of a social enterprise who has combined strong community benefit with a sustainable business model.
Ebinehita, 28, experienced first-hand the impact of children being forced to grow up too fast.
When she left home at 15, she became a youth worker without knowing it, supporting others from her tiny hostel room.
Today, she is a highly regarded therapeutic youth practitioner, supporting the emotional needs of young people in the community, particularly those affected by trauma.
She created Milk Honey Bees, a safe space that enables black girls to put healing, empowerment and resilience (HER) first while exploring their creativity and gaining new skills and employment opportunities.
Her work has gained the attention of global brands such as Sony Music, helping black girls access the creative industries, and the Barbie Dream Gap project, which provides girls with the support they need to believe they can achieve anything.
Ebinehita’s challenging childhood inspired her to become the support she didn’t have, for other young people.
She won a scholarship to study criminology where her insight and eloquence impressed her tutors, opening doors to the Home Office and London Mayor’s Violence Reduction Unit, where she continues to consult.
Ebinehita also works as project lead for Juvenis, supporting young people from vulnerable communities and is doing a PhD.
She was selected from nearly 1,000 entries, for the NatWest Everywoman Awards, now in its 19th year, which celebrate female entrepreneurs from all walks of life, providing a platform for them to share their achievements.
She said: “Being a finalist for the awards is such a huge accomplishment professionally and personally.
“This is because I am able to inspire the girls I support to know that you can be anything you want to be.
“For Milk Honey Bees, being a finalist means that we can be more visible in our community and beyond which ensures that we are able to continue routing for and protecting Black British Girlhood and its limitless potential.
“I attribute my success to healing, empowerment and resilience. This is because without healing I would not be able to have turned pain to power, through empowerment.
“I have been able to learn and grow with so many people from so many industries and resilience shaped me to know that my intersections as a woman have only strengthened me in and beyond my community to use my voice and my work to inspire others.”
The award winners will be announced at a ceremony on December 7.
Maxine Benson, co-founder of everywoman said: “For nearly two decades these awards have provided a platform to share the stories of hundreds of entrepreneurs; encouraging, emboldening and empowering other women to follow suit.
Against a backdrop of Covid, these women have shown how innovation and enterprise have helped their businesses to thrive under extraordinary trading conditions.
We hope their experiences will go onto inspire others and provide the motivation and inspiration that will be the backbone of the UK’s economic recovery.”
Pictured: Ebinehita Iyere
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