February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate and honour the unique achievements of Black pioneers, innovators and torchbearers in Canada and across the globe.
As the first Canadian institutionally-backed Black-led venture capital firm, BKR Capital aims to encourage and empower our community, and by both looking to the past, to the present and into the future, we’ve found ourselves equally inspired by the work of other trailblazing Black trendsetters, particularly in the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) and venture capital.
We like to think of them as forerunners. People who lead and have had (or will have) a lasting impact on the world. That is why we titled this 3-part series Forerunner Friday.
Week Two focuses on those making their mark on the next generation in STEM. Read on to find out about Chidiebere Ibe, Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon, and Jaylen Bledsoe.
Chidiebere Ibe - Medical Illustrator & Student
(Photo courtesy of Chidiebere Ibe)
25 year-old Chidiebere Ibe is a Nigerian medical student studying at Kyiv University in Ukraine with professional aspirations to be a neurosurgeon. Outside of the classroom, Ibe has gained prominence online as a self-taught medical illustrator, helping create more parity in healthcare through his unique illustrations and diagrams featuring Black skin. His popular visual of a Black mother carrying a fetus is even due to be featured in the second edition of the textbook Mind the Gap: A clinical handbook of signs and symptoms in Black and Brown Skin.
Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon – Computer Scientist & Non-Profit Co-Founder
(Photo courtesy of Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon via Sam & Simon Photography)
Hailing from the UK, Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon, MBE was recognized as a prodigy in computer science by age 11, noted as the youngest girl ever to pass the A-level qualification in computing. By age 20, she received her Master’s Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Oxford.
Post-graduation, she built an impressive resume, working for companies such as Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard and Deutsche Bank for a brief period. Later, she co-founded the London-based non-profit Stemettes in 2013, an organization that supports young women and girls to pursue careers in STEM through programming such as hackathons, panel events, and mentoring. She is at the forefront of efforts to champion the next generation of talented women following her impressionable path.
Jaylen Bledsoe – Entrepreneur
(Photo courtesy of Jaylen Bledsoe)
American-born Jaylen Bledsoe initially started his web development & IT consulting firm (Bledsoe Technologies) at age 12. Finding success, the company became a multi-million dollar global IT service provider with over 150 employees by the time he reached his teenage years.
Now the CEO and Chairman of The Bledsoe Collective at 23, Jaylen has expanded his businesses overall portfolio to include endeavors in media and entertainment, marketing advisory, philanthropy and venture capital.