Innovation and enterprise blog

10 May 2021

Meet Donelle Grant, founder of The Brave Project

Today marks to the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, it's important that we are checking in with ourselves, talking and being kind and supportive to others. The Brave Project community interest company, is a non-profit suicide prevention and wellbeing service; for BAME boys and young men. The mission is to prevent suicide through public awareness and education.⁣ We spoke to Donelle Grant, founder of The Brave Project and asked her to tell us about her business and how it came into being…

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'I am a 39 year old community development worker; holistic coach and mother, born and raised in East London. I decided to set up the Brave Project because I have always wanted to give back to my community that I grew up in and after extensive research I discovered that due to disparities and inequalities; BAME boys and young men found openly talking about their mental health/wellbeing difficult which and are at higher risk of suicide.

I wanted to change the narrative, reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and empower BAME boys and young men to speak up and reach out for help when they need it. Also raising two young black boys, it is very important for my boys to be able to express themselves freely; without any fear of judgement and I was very disappointed when I discovered that there are a lack of culturally appropriate accessible services who enable this.

Prior to registering my organisation, I had a moment . I asked myself the question ' Can I do this, can I influence change? I thought about all the founders who were currently influencing change and wondered if I had what it takes to do the same. As always, I spoke to my trusted advisor; My mum, told her what I wanted to do and why. My mums response was ' If not you, who?  My mum has always encouraged and empowered me to reach my full potential but stepping out of my comfort zone was my superpower. 

From that moment onward I got to work building the brave project.  One of the first things I wanted to do was register my organisation. I approached the SILL team at Newham as I wanted to speak with an experienced business Mentor in my area who could support me with this process. I also wanted to make sure I had access to all the necessary business workshops/training I needed to successfully run my non-profit. 

I was provided with the contact details for Rashed Belal , a Newham SME champion. Rashed has provided me with access to a number of business workshops and support for Marketing, to finance, and many more. 

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I am so grateful for the SiLL programme and my SME Champion Mentor Rashed Belal, who has been a great business Mentor,  consistently empowering me to  push forward with my business. 

Navigating and launching a business can come with challenges unique to BAME women; this is doubled when the service you set up is for the benefit of a community that has experienced so many inequalities and injustices. I would recommend that anyone setting up a business to connect with your business values; work out what your strengths are and find ways to overcome any challenges that may be presented, as this will support you to achieve your goals.

Get yourself a coach or mentor who understands your business values; encourages and believes in you, as this can support you to overcome any challenges or fears, bringing out the best in you.'

 

For more on Start-ups in London Libraries and how to register for our upcoming workshop, visit www.bl.uk/SiLL.

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