Deborah Okenla is a passionate advocate for black women in entrepreneurship. As Founder & CEO of YSYS (Your Startup, Your Story) she has developed a community-driven organisation, committed to increasing opportunities for black founders and talent within the UK’s tech startup ecosystem.
Since 2017, YSYS has provided access to opportunities for over 17,000 diverse individuals across the UK, through programmes, events, and training, in partnership with Atomico, Spotify, Lego Ventures, FT, Linkedin, Google, and more.
Ms. Okenla’s mission is to help over 100,000 people excel in tech by the end of 2023, and her company is on course to meeting this target.
Deborah sits on the Advisory Board for Coders of Colour, DCMS Digital Council, Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Council, and No.10 Innovation Fellowship Programme.
She has also been recognised as one of the UK’s Top 100 Black and Minority Ethnic Leaders in Technology by the FT, and Computer Weekly Rising Women in Tech.
Refelecting on the growth of YSYs, Deborah is still pleasantly surprised that a simple WhatsApp group that started with just 30 people has metamorphosed into an establishment with 17,000 (and counting) members – in just six years.