News / Babbasa

Winner of ‘life-changing award’ announced

By ewan crowley, Friday Jan 10, 2020

Okori Lewis-McCalla has been announced as the winner of an award that aims to boost representation in the creative and tech sectors.

The multi-talented 22-year-old became the second person to win the Ben Martin Apprentice Award (BMMA), a programme run by Bristol Media, in conjunction with Babbasa and ADLIB.

Launched in memory of the late Ben Martin, an advocate of creativity, innovation and diversity in the industry, the award aims to bolster creativity and diversity in tech and creative businesses by supporting aspiring young talents.

The winner and three runners will undertake a summer of paid placements with leading agencies in the South West.

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A creative director, filmmaker, and web and app designer, Okori was unanimously chosen by the judging panel for his passion and ambition to become a creative technologist.

He said, “To even be shortlisted for the Ben Martin Apprentice Award was quite flattering but to win the award is an honour and something I’m very grateful for. More than anything, it’s empowering and has reaffirmed to me that you can and should just be yourself.”

Babbasa works to empower young people in Bristol. Photo by Ellie Pipe

Okori got involved with Babbasa in 2018 after meeting CEO Poku Osei at the organisation’s Hear Our Stories event in Bristol.

He added, “After I met Poku at the event, I wanted to link up.

“Multiple things made me want to stick around since then. I get on well with the people there.”

“What Babbasa is doing is really great for Bristol. I feel like they are setting the precedent for the future by supporting a really great group of young people doing amazing things.”

The programme has already proven to be a success. “Nothing compares to gaining real industry experience,” said 2019’s BMAA winner, Marissa Lewis-Peart. “I’m so glad to have been given this opportunity.”

Marisa Lewis-Peart, 2019 winner of BMAA. Photo from Bristol Media

Babbasa advisory board member Urfan Ali said: “We’re always looking to find new ways to give opportunities to talented young people from diverse communities in Bristol and the South West.

“Okori has done an amazing job in showcasing his talents and ambitions, and now has the chance to advance his career in a potentially life-changing way.

“We’re very excited for what comes next for Okori and I am sure this will inspire many other young people to consider a career in the creative industry.”

Chair of Bristol Media Chris Thurling said: “We all want to make sure our industry is more diverse and inclusive, but when you run a small business, it’s not always easy to know how to make a practical difference.

“By coming together as the Bristol Media community to support the BMAA, every member business, regardless of size, can do their bit to help young people get that all-important ‘foot in the door’.”

Main photo thanks to Babbasa

Read more: Ambitious networking event ‘ for young people, by young people’

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