Imbibe live logo in white
1–2 July 2024
Olympia London

Who is Be Inclusive Hospitality?

I founded Be Inclusive Hospitality back in 2020 having spent the past two working in the hospitality sector. My specialism is Procurement & Supply Chain, and I have led teams for regional, national, and international leading brands, with drinks buying as a core team responsibility.

Be Inclusive Hospitality is a not-for-profit and was born due to the lack of People of Colour in positions of influence and the Supply Chain. The company's mission is to build a thriving community to accelerate race equity within the hospitality sector.  

The Be Inclusive mission is delivered through:

  • Professional Development - mentorship, funding scholarships, and events.
  • Education & Resources - workshops, education, corporate membership, and consultancy.
  • Partnerships - consulting with brands keen to advance change through collaboration.

Partnering within events is an important way of prompting decision-makers within the drinks industry to think about how Supply Chain diversity and innovation can coexist. My ambition is to broaden perspectives, whilst driving awareness of emerging markets, products, and founders.

Imbibe Live partnership

This year is my third year as an Imbibe Live ambassador and having hosted panel discussions centring Supply Chain diversity for the past two years. The Imbibe Live team and I were very keen to move the dial beyond forward by representing the work that we do through the primary reason that attendees visit Imbibe Live – drinks brands!

This year we will have a Be Inclusive Hospitality exhibition stand over the two-day period and run a session in the tasting room entitled “Exploring Innovation, whilst Delivering Supply Chain Diversity”.

Our stand and tasting will feature three emerging, innovative, and premium Black-owned drinks brands, that are creating waves within the drinks industry, both here in the UK and abroad.

The brands will include:

  • Reign Rum, the world’s first African luxury rum brand from Ghana, founded by Amma Mensah
  • Vusa Vodka is a premium sugarcane vodka made in Africa, founded by Christopher Frederick and Damola Timeyin.
  • Xin and Voltaire is a Maison de Glace that produces the finest cocktail sorbets, founded by Grace Ubawuchi.

The missing Black link

In my previous life buying drinks for restaurant groups including Gordon Ramsay Restaurants, Shake Shack, and Corbin & King, I have visited hundreds of drinks exhibitions both here in the UK and abroad. Consistently Black founders have been missing from these spaces.

What I do know for sure is that there is not a shortage of Black founders within the drinks industry, however, a major contributing factor to this absence is that startup founders do not have equal access to funding. A study conducted in 2020 found that less than 0.25% of venture capital funding went to Black-led start-ups in the UK.  Only 38 Black founders had received venture capital funding in the last 10 years.  Access to funding is a requirement for businesses across most sectors to support growth, and the drinks industry is no different.

The future is inclusive!

What excites me most about the future of the UK drinks industry is that change is afoot. The very existence of the three brands due to join us on the 3rd and 4th reflects this continual change. The industry craves innovation, and consumers expect it, and I am happy that we can play a small part in bridging the gap of access to diverse suppliers, who will all enrich the UK drinks industry.

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