The British Alliance of African and African Caribbean People (BAACP) is a unified voice formed to speak about the issues affecting the African and African Caribbean community. This is a solution based forum which aims to work with the Government to address a number of concerns which affect our community. The forum was co-founded by Errol Patterson and his wife Yvonne.
By having a voice through the BAACP, we can also have a much more effective say in local and national government policy.
The BAACP would not replace the good work that organisation do, but would seek to speak effectively together as one voice both at national Government and local level and to some extent have a voice on international issues in partnership with other international organisations.
As we know over many years the African and Caribbean Community have given a lot to this country and have made the UK their homes. The BAACP would support the growth and development of the UK and strengthen community cohesion and confidence so that everyone feels valued.
The BAACP seeks to provide justice, equality, empowerment and advancement for all African and African Caribbean people
What was the catalyst that made you decide to go into business?
The catalyst was that we kept coming across a number of organisations which do not or do very little sharing of information or best practices. This happens both on a local scale and national scale and there appears to be no co-ordination between boroughs or indeed across the country.
What was holding you back from being an entrepreneur at the time?
We did not see anything holding us back at the time, we just felt the time was right to move forward and make a difference.
What was the best business advice you were given?
Some of the best business advice I have been given was to always believe in yourself and let no one tell you it can’t be done. One of the most inspiring things I read was not to follow in the footsteps made by others, but to make your own.
What is the most exciting thing happening in your sector right now?
One of the most exciting things happening right now are the opportunities we have been given to form links with many other organisations here in London, Birmingham, USA, South Africa and Jamaica.
What are your customers demanding more from you at the moment and how are you/the business responding?
Organisations are requesting more help with the issues affecting the younger generations especially around gun and knife crime and school exclusions. We are responding by connecting with people who can provide answers, challenging decisions made by local government and offering support and advice to families and children.
What social media tool are you using at the moment (that is the most valuable) and why?
The main social tool we are using at the moment is probably Facebook and Linked in however, we make a lot of face to face contact as well and do not rely on these tools alone.
What is your take on personal business failures?
When it comes to personal business failures, my response is to get up and try again. There are no failures, just how you choose view the situation, so get up, learn from your lessons and start again. Our children are dying on the streets, if we can’t do it for ourselves, let’s do it for them.
What is difference that is making the difference for success in business at the moment?
The difference why we believe we are successful at the moment is that so many organisations which we meet say that they are really keen to get involved with the BAACP and feel it is really helpful for them to connect with others organisation and gain additional support.
Who are you following on Twitter?
Currently we do not really follow anyone on Twitter, but this is something we may start to look at in the future.
What book would you recommend for entrepreneurs?
One book to recommend to entrepreneurs is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.
What is your favourite quote?
We have many favourite quotes which I would use in business but we find quotes by Martin Luther King particular inspiring. One of these are “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” We apply this principle in our work to help keep us motivated and focused.
What next for your business?
Next thing for the BAACP….. just keep on connecting with more progressive organisations who have similar values and goals and can work together with us to achieve our mission for the community. We also want to get more young people involved to carry the baton and move us forward when we get too old or sick to do so. We want to leave a legacy to our children so that one day they can leave it to theirs.
What things do you want to see within 10 years from now?
Well, what we would love to see more African and African Caribbean people in parliament, more Black owned successful businesses, more Black children achieving better results at schools and less children dying on our streets.