Grace Trowbridge

Grace Trowbridge describes herself as a proud Black female entrepreneur of West African descent. She says: "Black culture, to me, means being unique, having a rich history and an identity that stems from strength and power. I have so much pride in our heritage, and that's why it is really important to me to see us celebrated and elevated in every way and in every industry."

She founded her business, Simply Noir, in August 2020, in the wake of the death of George Floyd, and in May 2021 was recognised at The Small Awards with the New Kid On the Block award. Simply Noir is a marketplace and community that supports Black-owned businesses, connecting consumers with sustainable, value-led, Black-owned UK brands.

Grace says: "The death of George Floyd hit me hard and made me think about the world my children would be growing up in. His death ignited a passion within me to make a difference. I felt that I needed to be part of the change and let my children see me being proactive about making a difference. I wanted to give Black businesses a voice and a platform where they could be seen and celebrated, and so Simply Noir was born."

She adds: "Black businesses are unfortunately more likely to struggle, and a key element and factor is access to funding. We recognise this at Simply Noir, and that's why our main message to consumers is to shop more mindfully and consciously, because as consumers we can make a tangible difference to the lives of small business owners."

She believes that more representation is needed in the business world, with more opportunities for business owners from diverse backgrounds, and better access to funding and readily accessible support for those businesses.

Grace adds that her kids are her biggest inspiration, and that she's currently reading Do What You Love, Love What You Do: The Empowering Secrets to Turn Your Passion Into Profit by Holly Tucker.

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Published: 02 June 2021