Times have changed; there’s no longer one set path to get to the top.

Uncovering the stories of some of the UK’s most influential and successful self-made entrepreneurs, this series delves into every detail of four inspirational journeys – and the ups and downs within each one.

Leading these motivational conversations is Charmaine Hayden (founder and partner at GOODsoil VC (Venture Capital) and one of Forbes’ 25 Leading Black British People) who hosted our SELF MADE series last year.

the rise team

Stefflon Don

Stefflon Don

Stefflon Don

The Rise Individual 3


No one can argue that Stefflon Don is one of the UK’s biggest female rappers. At nine years old she’d already recorded a track and in time took the UK charts by storm with ‘Hurtin Me’ featuring French Montana in 2017, which landed at number seven. Since bursting onto the scene, the British Jamaican artist has achieved incredible success, from recording with artists Skepta and Charli XCX to winning an incredibly well-earned MOBO.
This success isn’t something that’s come by chance though – it’s down to non-stop hustle.

The Rise Individual 2


CEO and founder of Disturbing London Dumi Oburota has always trusted his gut and looked at the bigger picture. His journey hasn’t been simple; after dropping out of university twice, he then managed one of the UK’s biggest artists Tinie Tempah at just 21. Following years of initial success, he developed money issues and became broke. After taking some time out to recoup, the British Nigerian music mogul is back at the top of his game, with names like Jessie J – who performed at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony alongside Tinie – under his belt, and was featured in the 2019 Top 100 Black Powerlist.


Irene Agbontaen


Irene’s success reached new heights when she launched clothing brand TTYA (Taller Than You Are) London, which carves out a safe space for taller women in the fashion world. Having begun her career part time in a retail store, she worked her way up to a stylist before hitting the jackpot with her inclusive brand now stocked in retail giants ASOS, Selfridges and Barneys. Irene never lost sight of her previous experiences though, always drawing on connections she made along the way. Since rising up, she’s also launched TTYA Talks, a podcast that gives girls invaluable business advice.

B Young Thumbnail


Overnight success doesn’t come from one night’s work. B Young’s breakout single ‘Jumanji’ in 2018 didn’t receive over 61 million views on YouTube thanks to chance; it was down to years of grafting as a sound engineer and watching endless YouTube tutorials which allowed him to craft his melodic style of rap. The journey hasn’t always been easy for this British Cypriot star, either. Before turning his passion into a career, he had to live in the gym he worked in with his brother to make ends meet – meaning he knows a thing or two about how to stick things out.


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