In 2013, Boysie Gumede embarked on a mission to change the narrative for Black, African, and Caribbean artists in South Africa. Witnessing the struggles of iconic artists who left the world with little to show for their contributions, Gumede recognized the need for a platform that not only celebrates creative excellence but also empowers artists with the knowledge to navigate the business side of art. This realization, combined with a desire to unite diverse cultures through the universal language of music, laid the foundation for BE United.
Inception and Inspiration
BE United officially started its journey in 2013, driven by a profound vision to amplify the voices and contributions of Black, African, and Caribbean artists. For Gumede, this venture was not merely a business opportunity but a purpose-driven mission. Growing up under the apartheid regime in South Africa, he envisioned music as a tool for unity and sought to create opportunities that would bring joy and positive change to communities.
Mission, Vision, and Core Values
BE United is not just an organization; it's a movement that advocates for, highlights, and celebrates Afrocentric excellence in Africa and Scotland. The mission is clear – to provide a platform and voice for Scotland’s Afrocentric community. The vision extends beyond the present, aiming to curate and manage a thriving Afrocentric Arts and Cultural Hub – The BE Hive.
The core values reflect a commitment to unity, excellence, and empowerment. BE United seeks to help Afrocentric artists, creatives, and businesses build a thriving creative life and community.
Products and Services
BE United stands out with a track record of continued engagement, offering a range of products and services rooted in its commitment to community and artistic development. From educational initiatives and cross-cultural understanding to creative support, discounted deals on content creation, and studio bookings, the organization provides holistic support for individuals and businesses within the Afrocentric community.
Revenue Generation and Sustainability
BE United employs a multifaceted approach to revenue generation, including educational programs, creative support, and discounted deals on various services. By offering memberships with benefits like studio access, discounted tickets, and priority event access, the organization ensures sustainability while providing value to its members.
The target market extends from local to international partners, with a specific focus on youth and the African community. Strategies for customer engagement involve providing access to creative spaces, professional studio bookings, and personalized support to help artists develop captivating content.
Setting Apart from Competitors
BE United distinguishes itself by offering an international platform at the Fringe Festivals in Scotland – a unique opportunity for exposure and business growth. The organization's achievements, including partnerships with the City Chamber of Edinburgh and participation in the Edinburgh Film Festivals, further solidify its standing in the industry.
Challenges, such as navigating government funding systems and forming partnerships with private companies, have been part of BE United's journey. Overcoming these obstacles involves collaborative efforts, exceeding expectations by collaborating with other entities in the creative business sector.
Innovation is at the core of BE United's approach. Collaborations with other creative entities and active participation in festivals showcase a commitment to staying ahead of industry trends and embracing new ideas.
Sustainability and Social Responsibility
BE United places a strong emphasis on sustainability by creating platforms for new creative ideas to grow in an exciting environment. The organization takes social responsibility seriously, advocating for the community and fostering an inclusive space for growth.
Long-term Vision and Advice for Entrepreneurs
Boysie Gumede envisions strengthening relationships with government bodies, private parties, and communities. His advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is simple yet profound – focus on what you're good at, find joy in what you do, and remember that making a positive change is the ultimate goal.
In the tapestry of South African entrepreneurship, BE United stands out as a vibrant thread, weaving stories of empowerment, unity, and Afrocentric excellence. As Boysie Gumede continues to champion his vision, the impact of BE United echoes far beyond the realms of art, creating a legacy of positive change and cultural celebration.