SocialFIXT - Breaking Barriers to Empower Black Creatives
Welcome to our Founder Spotlight series, where we showcase the brilliant minds behind the startups in the Black Valley accelerator programme.
In this blog, we get to know Mercedes Benson, a talented international DJ and former Googler. But she's not just about spinning records or corporate tech…. She's a passionate founder of SocialFIXT, a game-changing platform designed to revolutionise the UK's creative industry.
Through her brainchild, Mercedes is on a mission to drive diversity and empowerment for Black creatives. Keep reading to find out about her journey and relentless dedication to ensure talent knows no colour lines.
Q: Tell us about yourself and your startup.
Mercedes: Hey everyone! I'm Mercedes Benson (not the car, just to clarify! :D). To introduce myself, I'm an international DJ and a former Googler. More importantly, I'm the Founder of SocialFIXT— a personalised job matching platform for black creatives. Our goal is to increase the presence of black talent in the UK creative industry by facilitating their hiring, retention, and empowerment.
How do we do it? We collaborate with top creatively driven companies and agencies, aiming to bridge the hiring gap between recruiters and the broader black community. Through job matching, corporate partnerships, and events, we not only emphasise the significance of diverse hiring but also support our talent in discovering and flourishing in their creative careers.
Q: What led you to where you are today?
Mercedes: In 2017, during the peak of my career at a major tech company, I quickly recognised the solitude of being the sole black woman in my team and one of the very few in my department. It became clear that, for many black creatives in the UK, the journey was often isolating.
As first-generation individuals, most of us were likely breaking away from conventional career paths, defying our parents' wishes. Simultaneously, we faced the harsh reality that the industry we were entering was largely dominated by nepotism. SocialFIXT was conceived to alleviate this challenging path for each subsequent generation of creatives.
Q: What has been the biggest highlight of your Founder’s journey so far?
Mercedes: A pivotal moment for us was when we secured our initial brand partnership with Unilever and Complex UK. At that point, we joined forces with one of the largest brands and a highly influential media publisher for young creatives.
Together, we produced the online series "The Race Card," featuring talents like Jessie Lingard, Sideman, and others. It marked our first foray into collaborations of this magnitude, providing a valuable learning experience as we educated our white peers on the intricacies of black culture and experiences.
Reflecting on this, it's astonishing that, three years later, our partners now include Google, Youtube Music, Red Bull, and more. It's a remarkable testament to the ongoing importance of the diversity dialogue, signalling that more companies should actively engage in diverse and creative strategies to address this issue.
Q: What lessons have you learned that you would like to pass on?
Mercedes: Consider rejection as a form of redirection. Embrace the idea of pivoting when your plans don't unfold as expected. Success isn't solely about being the first to start; it's about persisting and continuing despite setbacks.
Q: Any final thoughts?
Mercedes: SocialFIXT will become the premier job search platform for Black talent globally. Stay tuned for exciting developments in 2024. PS. #FIXTFEST
Find out more about SocialFIXT
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