Founders Unite: Meet 1,000 Voices – showcasing Black British changemakers

Tevin Kittoe
Tevin Kittoe
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
11 April 2023

Virgin Unite launched the Founders Unite Award at the end of 2022 to find organisations working to tackle the systemic, entrenched barriers facing entrepreneurs from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities. Virgin Unite has since announced the three finalists for the award, who will present their ideas at a roundtable event later this month.

One of the finalists is 1,000 Voices, a podcast that is on a mission to tell the stories of 1,000 Black British changemakers. We caught up with founder Tevin Kittoe to find out more.

Tell us about 1,000 Voices.

With the 1000 Voices Podcast I’m on mission to interview 1,000 Black British changemakers. The first episode came out February last year, but I started working on it properly in December 2021. Our goal is to empower a generation of Black British changemakers and to eradicate racial wealth inequalities.

Our long-term vision is to inspire others to make a positive impact in their own communities and beyond. We believe that stories of Black excellence and resilience should be heard, and we strive to amplify the voices of those who are working to create a more just and equitable society.

Where did the idea come from?

It's been something I've thought about for a while. It was in my heart for a very long time before I actually acted on it.

The idea came from a couple of places. Some of my own experiences, the experiences of family and friends. I just felt that the media, especially when it comes to Black people, were just way too negative and I wanted to do something to challenge those negative stereotypes and negative perceptions.

I believe in the power of storytelling so I wanted to find these people who are doing amazing work in their lives and their communities and share their stories. I want to share what they’re doing, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, challenges, successes and hopefully inspire people along the way.

Why do you think it’s important to tell these stories?

It’s important because we live in a multicultural world. A lot of people from minority ethnic communities – myself included – have had negative experiences, whether that’s overt or something more covert.

We have a three-step plan – SEE. So the first part is to SHOW – and that’s what we’re doing with the podcast right now. We’re sharing the stories and showing people what Black changemakers can achieve.

The next part is to EDUCATE – to show young Black people what they can do, and help them to achieve that. And then finally to EMPOWER more Black people to make change in their communities and in the world.

Why did you apply for the Founders Unite Award?

Virgin has been on my radar since I was about 17. I read Richard Branson’s autobiography, Losing My Virginity, and that’s when I decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur in order to help people.

I came across the Founders Unite Award and Virgin Unite and I loved what it stood for, which is why I applied.

The Founders Unite roundtable event will take place during April 2023, where the winner will be selected by attendees, including Holly Branson and Karl Lokko. The winning organisation will receive a package of support from Virgin Unite to help further their work in levelling the odds for Black, Asian and other minority ethnic entrepreneurs.