United Kingdom (London)
“Because we might not have friends or family in abundance who already work in the creative industries, we’re having to figure it out on our own” – Mercedes Benson, SocialFixt founder
Digital platform SocialFixt is aiming to fix a lack of diversity across the creative industries by attracting a whole new pool of talent from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
As a young black woman working in the world of marketing, Mercedes Benson is all too aware of a lack of diversity in creative industries, including advertising, design, and publishing.
“When you’re seeing an entire industry where lots of people don’t look like you, or don’t come from the same background, it does feel intimidating,” says Mercedes. “It feels like the role models within the industries themselves should shine a light on what they’re doing, and pass that ladder down, so young entry-level talent from ethnic minorities can be inspired to pursue their own career in the creative industries.”
Until they do, Mercedes has created her own solution to the lack of diversity in the form of SocialFixt, a platform that aims to make creative industries more appealing and more accessible to black, Asian, and minority ethnic talent.
Benson, who’s also the brand partnerships manager at Complex Networks, credits frustration as the inspiration behind SocialFixt, pointing out that seeing so few minority ethnic people in a department such as marketing or sales felt like a huge disservice.
“A wealth of amazing young talent does exist and they do want to apply for creative roles, and we wanted to create a hub to pull that community together,” she explains.
Since launching on Facebook in 2017, SocialFixt has fostered a thriving community of more than 5,000 members. There’s a Twitter presence and a newsletter, highlighting job opportunities, and people can also meet up in person through a series of London-based events that take place each year.
Through SocialFixt, Mercedes intends to show that careers in the creative industries – from architecture to film, music and visual arts – are a viable option, and is also looking to offer a guiding hand when it comes to turning the dream into a reality.
Even with the power of social media at SocialFixt’s disposal, it’s a tough challenge, and Benson highlights the fear of rejection as one of the biggest issues facing people from minority ethnic backgrounds.
“Because we might not have friends or family in abundance who already work in the creative industries, we’re having to figure it out on our own,” she says. “Nobody is necessarily passing the blueprint down to us on how to get into that industry – how much will we get paid, do we have to freelance, do we have to do free work experience, can we afford it? It’s all these things that make people think, ‘You know what, I don’t think this is for me’.”
SocialFixt can help to answer those questions, and the social enterprise also runs physical events as a way to connect the online community offline.
“I think it’s really important to be able to put faces to the names of the people we’re speaking to online,” Mercedes explains. “It also creates a more empathetic touchpoint within our community; job hunting isn’t always something that’s talked about a lot, especially with young people. We aim to empower the community with the tools required to make that first step into the creative industry as impactful as possible.”
When it comes to giving people the tools to make a difference, SocialFixt focuses on four different areas: ‘Fix your CV’, ‘Fix your worth’, ‘Fix your gap’, and ‘Fix your money’. There’s help to nail the perfect CV, along with an emphasis on the need for members to appreciate themselves, valuing the skills they have at their disposal. “We also have an event that focuses on gender equality or inequality,” adds Mercedes. “Money management and what it takes to become a freelancer is our fourth vertical.”
It’s been a busy 18 months for Mercedes and SocialFixt, but there are no plans to slow down anytime soon.
“So, our next plan is to create a website, where we’ll be able to have a hub for our community and offer amazing advice, templates, and CV checks for our community itself. We want to turn that into a recruitment agency, in turn adding a fresh touch to the recruitment industry, and apply a bit more empathy to the whole process.”
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Red Bull Amaphiko is a global platform that supports social entrepreneurs – those pioneers, change makers, innovators who use their talent, creativity, and energy to make a positive change in their corner of the world, in a sustainable way. And spreads these stories to inspire a wider audience.
Mercedes Benson, Founder, DJ and marketeer
This project has been selected as part of CultureFutures, a new storytelling project that maps creative and cultural projects with a social mission – and the artists, collectives and entrepreneurs behind them.
Atlas of the Future is excited to join forces with Goldsmiths Institute of Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship and the British Council Creative Economy.