Havas Culture

BOOSTING BUSINESSES

Senior Writer and Editor
Hannah Lindley joined Havas Group in October 2021 as a Senior Writer and Editor. She has a background in corporate reputation management, journalism, and creative writing.
In partnership with CEG Investment Group, Havas Media Group recently launched Havas Boost, a new programme providing investment and support to emerging media and tech start-ups founded by underrepresented groups, with an initial focus on Black, Asian and minority ethnic-owned businesses.
Dare! spoke with Havas Media Group London’s Gerald Appau-Bonsu, founder of Havas Boost about the accelerator and why he’s passionate about this work.

Can you talk about the philosophy behind developing Havas Boost and why you’re passionate about this project?

The philosophy behind developing Havas Boost ultimately comes down to the famous slogan “every little helps.” From a young age, I have always believed that I had the power to help people, however small the act may be. The story of the good Samaritan always resonated with me too – as humans, we have a duty to make the world a better place to live in. When I had my son, that fact became even more clear to me – holding my son for the first time made me extremely conscious of my own mortality; eventually, my son will outlive me and have to live in the world that is left for him. Havas Boost aims to help businesses accelerate their growth and accomplish their own individual goals, and we hope this success and job creation will cause a ripple effect on the community more broadly. Those effects end up improving everybody’s quality of life, which is why programmes like Havas Boost are so important. I have been investing smaller amounts and doing what I can with CEG Investment Group for the past two years, so I know the impact this programme and its resources are going to have, and it’s enormous. 

How do you see Havas Boost continuing to grow?

We’re currently running this in the U.K, but I hope in years to come, we can expand this programme internationally and help businesses around the world. I also hope that other industry giants can look at the example Havas Boost is setting and follow us by doing the same. Corporate social responsibility projects such as this are an important avenue for businesses – they allow companies to give back to the communities and to the industries that have made them so successful. We hope Havas Boost itself continues to help as many people as possible and inspires others to do the same.

“Havas Boost aims to help businesses accelerate their growth and accomplish their own individual goals, and we hope this success and job creation will cause a ripple effect on the community more broadly.”

Outside of funding, how are you supporting start-ups that will work with Havas Boost? Will they also have access to other Havas resources?

The fact that Havas Boost is offering resources other than financial support is what makes the programme so unique in my opinion. Havas Media is offering its own expertise within the media and marketing industry, helping build brand awareness for start-up businesses through media planning and brand strategy, as well as office and storage space if the business needs it. Each deal we structure will be based on each start-up’s specific needs and can be a mix and match of a number of resources depending on the help required. On top of this, each business will benefit from a 12-month mentoring and management period after our initial investment. We want to help nurture the company post investment so that they have all the skills necessary to make the most out of the resources at their disposal. 

What have been some of your biggest challenges and successes in bringing Havas Boost to life? 

I currently do loads of different things – not only do I work within the finance department at Havas Media Group, but I also run businesses outside of that role. So organising my time and managing workloads has been challenging. I have also been building a business model and application process from scratch alongside my business partner Georgiana at Acorn Business Consultancy, who will be managing our internal vetting process for applicants. This has been a very technical but rewarding process. I am very grateful for the rest of the Havas Boost team for working with me to get things done and for the senior leadership team at Havas Media Group for being patient with us as we tweaked our plan and model for this initiative. I’m now confident that we have a unique model that we can replicate across different markets, optimising resources and helping as many people as possible in the process.

What are the outcomes you’re hoping this programme will achieve?

Our outcome for this programme is to help provide as many businesses as possible with the boost they need to reach the next level of success. Not only do we want to use the knowledge and resources Havas has gained over years and years in the industry to give back to the new businesses coming into the industry, but we also want to give help to the under-represented Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups who struggle to obtain the help they need to help their own communities. It is our pledge to always look for and prioritise those most in need.

I’m now confident that we have a unique model that we can replicate across different markets, optimising resources and helping as many people as possible in the process.”

Is there anything we haven’t asked you that you’d like to mention or highlight?

Nothing more to mention other than to thank everybody for their interest in this unique and revolutionary programme. I understand the huge responsibility in my hands, and I do not take it lightly. I’m looking forward to making Havas Boost a huge success and introducing you all to some of the most innovative, meaningful brands in the industry. 

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