The Black Pounds Project
2073. CJ Lloyd Webley
CJ Lloyd Webley, from Birmingham, is a playwright and entrepreneur who set up ‘The Black Pounds Project’ to support young black and ethnic minority entrepreneurs and artists in developing businesses and creative projects.
CJ launched ‘The Black Pounds Project’ as a mentorship programme in 2020, following the energy generated by the Black Lives Matter protests. As well as providing bespoke coaching and mentoring services to help grow and sustain businesses, the organisation aims to create a safe community for business owners to improve their knowledge and skills and identify areas for future focus, as well as a network to connect, share ideas and collaborate on projects.
Since 2020, the project has provided mentorship and coaching to over 1,500 businesses in the West Midlands and runs “pop-up” stores in Birmingham city centre to spotlight new businesses.
As a playwright, CJ has produced material which takes inspiration from Black-British culture. His writing and projects have tackled a range of subjects including immigration and men’s mental health, with his play ‘Constructed’, about workers on a construction site, highlighting the importance of mental health services. Through ‘Lightpost Theatre’, a community theatre company, CJ actively contributes to supporting young black men from diverse backgrounds with their mental health by providing a safe environment for open communication. Additionally, CJ organised and led creative writing workshops for underprivileged children, dedicating efforts to raise funds and purchase much-needed school equipment for them.
In a personal letter to CJ, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“By nurturing the talents and ambitions of business owners and encouraging them to collaborate with one another, you are empowering people to change their lives. Your pop-up stores across Birmingham are giving thousands of entrepreneurs the chance to showcase their work.
“I was also inspired to hear how you are supporting men with their mental health through your community theatre company and running creative writing workshops for disadvantaged children.”
“I am incredibly proud to accept the prestigious Daily Points of Light award as the 2073rd recipient in the United Kingdom. ‘The Black Pounds Project’, a cause I am deeply committed to, has played a pivotal role in uplifting and empowering communities facing economic disadvantages. The impact we have achieved has exceeded my wildest expectations since the project’s inception. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated volunteers whose unwavering support has brought us to this remarkable milestone. The journey hasn’t been easy, but this award serves as a recognition of our tireless efforts and unwavering dedication. I am determined to continue supporting and empowering the community through this invaluable work.”
See more about ‘The Black Pounds Project’