Michael Hayman on Eric Collins and being the right kind of troublemaker, in his column for Country & Town House.
‘I hope you’re using your voice for good. I hope you’re using your voice for good disruption and making what I call good trouble.’
The words of Eric Collins, the investor and host of Channel 4’s The Money Maker. And he shared them with me at a recent event I chaired for aspiring entrepreneurs at BAFTA in London, celebrating alumni of the ‘Help To Grow: Management’ course.
As the author of We Don’t Need Permission: How Black Business Can Change our World, Eric is putting his time to good use. His is an incredible call to action to empower a new generation of ethnic minority founders of ambitious growth firms.
With his book, he has written a fascinating page turner, as well as a personal guide to leading a life well lived. As he says, ‘Nothing is as liberating as throwing off the mental shackles that form alongside the need to ask for permission.’ It’s the crucial step in creating the world we want to see.
It’s advice that has served him well. Eric studied at Harvard Law School with a fellow student who went on to become the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. He would go on to serve on the president’s Small Business Administration’s Council on Underserved Communities.
As the founder of Impact X, Eric has also built an investment platform to back under-represented founders – particularly black and female entrepreneurs – who have the potential to change the world.
And let’s not forget his hit show, The Money Maker, which helped small business leaders the length and breadth of the UK.
He has been named by the Powerlist as one of the most influential Black people in Britain, and by The Financial Times as one of the country’s top 100 Black, Asian and minority ethnic leaders.
If there is a theme here it is positivity and embracing the belief that change can happen. When I was interviewing Eric I was struck by the old saying that it’s easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.
But that motto also needs an update, because permission itself can all too often be the crux of the problem: it holds us back from making brave choices, and limiting our life chances. And if you understand that you don’t need anyone’s permission, then you may have just taken the first step to a life of making good trouble.