Kike Oniwinde Agoro is the Founder and CEO of BYP Network, an organisation she founded in her bedroom when she was 24 years old. The idea came from Kike’s life experiences growing up in East London with her mother and two brothers. At just the age of 16 she dealt with the trauma of losing her brother to the prison system and having her and her family's world turned upside down. Instead of giving up on life she decided to dig deep and stay focused on walking in her purpose and reaching her potential.
Kike was already the England Champion in her age group for Javelin and had won many titles and awards including young sports person of the year for Barking and Dagenham. One month after her brother went to prison, Kike received her G.C.S.E results of 8A*s & 3As from her secondary school that had a 30% A*-C pass rate. “My mum was so pleasantly surprised and I think my motivation was just to always make her happy, her joy meant the world to me.”
At the age of 18, Kike got the call that she would be representing Great Britain at the European Junior Championships in Estonia whilst also receiving the news that she won an internship at Deutsche Bank for the summer. Kike had also just received AAA for her A-Levels and confirmed her place at the University of Nottingham to study BSc (Hons) Economics. She also gained the attention of Harvard, but due to the timelines of starting the year she’d graduate Nottingham, she decided not to pursue the opportunity. It was clear that Kike was naturally gifted but she also described herself as “a resilient hard worker with a growth-mindset and an ability to do multiple conflicting things well.”
As a student at Nottingham, Kike was on a sports bursary and a Sutton Trust Bursary. She was a three time bronze medallist at the British University Championship games including medalling at the London Olympic stadium. She graduated with a 2.1 and gained internships at Goldman Sachs, Barclays and Citibank. However, Investment banking wasn’t something Kike enjoyed as the lack of diversity and feeling of being “the only Black person in the room” made her feel uncomfortable. “I didn’t understand why no one else looked like me and why as a Black person I had to be deemed exceptional to even be in the room, the standard just seemed different for us.”
Kike was named as one of the top five Black students in the country by Rare Recruitment and gained a fully funded track and field scholarship to the NCAA D1 University of Florida to study a MSc in Management and compete in the women’s Javelin. “I actually fractured my back in my second year of university and had one of the lowest periods of my life, the scholarship and grade made it all worth it”.
At the University of Florida, Kike struggled with anxiety and was unable to perform at her best. “It was the most amazing opportunity of my life but I believe the pressure of a $100k scholarship got to me and I just felt like a different person out there.” Kike did excel on her masters course winning the Southeastern Academic Honours and thanked her experience in Florida for being the foundation for founding BYP Network. “I met so many amazing people out there especially Black students and I just felt like I shouldn’t need a scholarship to know incredible Black people exist.”
With a lack of diversity in the workplace and on her undergraduate course alongside the start of 2016 Black Live Matter Movement, Kike felt like the ‘Black narrative’ needed changing. Instead of all the negative news on gangs and the view that Black people are only athletes and musicians, Kike knew that the key to changing the narrative was to bring all the Black professionals around the world together for role model visibility and new opportunities.
Since 2016, BYP Network has grown to 150,000 members and over 1600 corporate clients including Meta, Morgan Stanley, Sainsbury’s and Gartner. Over 35,000 of their members have been up-skilled through mentorship, thought-leadership events and industry specific insight with all members boasting an enhanced network.
In 2020, Kike led a successful crowdfund campaign with over 1200 investors and raised over $1m. She has been named as a Sky Woman in Technology Scholar, F-Factor Winner and New Entrepreneurs Foundation Winner. She was invited to Paris on a business trade mission with London Mayor, Sadiq Khan; won a STEM Trailblazer Batons Award at Houses of Parliament and has won over 20 entrepreneurship awards. She has also been a judge for many awards including Great British Entrepreneurs Award, Barclays Diversity and Inclusion Awards and Amazon Longitude explorer prize.
Kike is a Forbes 30 under 30, Maserati Top 100 Most Innovative Founders and a Financial Times Top 100 BAME Leaders in Technology and a Computer Weekly Top 10 Woman in Technology. She is on the board of the London Chambers of Commerce Black Business Association, Getting on Boards and is a London Tech Ambassador.
In 2021, Kike lost her mother unexpectedly whilst also expecting a daughter. “That was the hardest period of my life but I am so blessed to have had such an incredible mother, who raised me to who I am today. Her memory and legacy will always live on.” Kike lives in Essex with her husband and daughter, Yetunde, who was named after Kike’s mum.