The UK’s second city, Birmingham, hosted the highly anticipated Potential Unlocked Awards 2024, a celebration of Black excellence and outstanding achievements by individuals under 40 years of age.

Founded by Birmingham resident David C. Hall in 2018, this prestigious event made a triumphant return after a pandemic-induced hiatus. Visionary founder of the Potential Unlocked Awards, Hall (left in pic), highlighted: "This year, we presented 16 awards to exceptional individuals who have made significant contributions to their respective fields."

The final winners were:

Academic Excellence Award:

  • Winner: Jessika Inaba, UK's first blind black female barrister
  • Highly Commended: Maya Benjamin, aspiring solicitor
  • Finalists: Angela Kumah, Dr. Melissa Morrison

Inspirational Person of the Year Award

  • Winner: Jessika Inaba, UK's first blind black female barrister
  • Highly Commended: Emmanuel Asuquo, financial expert, and bestselling author
  • Finalists: Mr. Beezy, Janet Siwoku, Nadine Bernard, Omolola Oyewusi, Gabriel Osamor

Educational Leadership Excellence Award

  • Winner: Adrian Rollins, the first second-generation headteacher and Ofsted Inspector.
  • Highly Commended: Kemoy Walker, community activist and assistant headteacher.
  • Finalists: Johnoi Josephs, Kemi Oluyinka.

Outstanding Contribution to Children Award

  • Winner: Black Men Teach, network promoting black male educators
  • Highly Commended: Tamar Dixon ('unique tay'), dynamic dance educator
  • Finalist: Antonio Henry

Community Service Hero Award

  • Winner: Elizabeth Zeddie Lawal, creative producer and theatre maker
  • Highly Commended: Andre Russell, Senior Youth Advisory Panel member
  • Finalist: Antonio Henry

Creative Arts Award

  • Winner: Phillipe Genus, graphic designer
  • Highly Commended: Ryan Sinclair, Spoken Word Poet, and Author
  • Finalist: Tamar Dixon ('unique tay')

Educator of the Year Award

  • Winner: Boaz Adelekan, Mathematics Teacher
  • Highly Commended: Albert Adeyemi, PE Teacher and Head of Year

Entrepreneur Of the Year Award

  • Winner: Ameena Badley, music industry force and female music manager
  • Highly Commended: Kwame Boateng, Founder and CEO of Ingrained Oil
  • Finalist: Emilio McCalla, Director of E & R Property Group

Financial Excellence Award

  • Winner: Adrian Benjamin, Financial Protection Advisor
  • Highly Commended: Stefan Johnson, Video Producer & Trade Finance Director
  • Finalist: Chris Ogunlana, qualified tax advisor

Legal Excellence Luminary Award

  • Winner: Jamal Jeffers, youngest black appointed Barrister in October 2022 specialising in Family law,
  • Highly Commended: April Lamai, Pupil Barrister at the Crown Prosecution Service
  • Finalist: Mark Robinson, Barrister

Medical Trailblazer Award

  • Winner: Dr. Jessica Katanga, medical doctor, and content creator
  • Highly Commended: Kwame Osei Owusu, award-winning pharmacist and mental health advocate
  • Finalists: Jenny Okolo, forensic occupational therapist, Sarah Tade, GP registrar, Ruth Baidoo, qualified dentist

Media & Communication Excellence Award

  • Winner: Theo Chikomba, broadcast Journalist with extensive experience
  • Highly Commended: Ameena Badley, music industry force and female music manager

STEM Award of the Year

  • Winner: Virtue Igbokwuwe, Graduate Civil Engineer

Thought Leader Of the Year

  • Winner: Jenny Okolo, forensic occupational therapist, and founder of SASA

Visionary Property Investor of the Year Award

  • Winner: Emilio McCalla, Director of E & R Property Group
  • Highly Commended: Abideen Kosoko, leader in the Rent-to-Rent property sector
  • Finalist: Migel Hayles-Taylor, property investor

These awards were decided by a distinguished panel of judges, including Eastenders actor Rudolph Walker, Samuel Kasumu (advisor to ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson), and Bishop Claion Grandison (leader of the New Testament Church of God UK).

Dr. Dennis Kimbro, renowned American author of 'Think & Grow Rich – A Black Choice,' served as the guest keynote speaker, inspiring attendees with his wisdom. Dr. Kimbro presented awards to the students of Potential Unlocked, an award-winning training centre that inspires greatness in young people and adults to live fulfilled, successful, and transformed lives.

The Student of the Year award was presented to Essiam Lynch, not only for her remarkable improvement in grades but also in recognition of her mother's dedication to her daughter's academic progress. Additionally, the Most Transformed Student award was given to Kairo for reported improvements in school behavior and grades. Awards were also presented for outstanding achievements in GCSEs and SATs.

David C. Hall, the founder of Potential Unlocked, shared his inspiring journey of overcoming challenges, stating: "Despite my dyslexia diagnosis, my family always believed in my potential.

“Today, I am a qualified chemistry teacher and a successful entrepreneur, including my ownership of Potential Unlocked." Potential Unlocked has positively impacted over 3500 individuals since its inception, making it a beacon of hope and inspiration in the community.