Updated: Aug 24
Friends and family, colleagues and collaborators turned out from all over the world to celebrate with Stephen Bediako, social and serial entrepreneur, mentor and collaborator.
Steve, who is co-founder of Pathway Fund, the UK’s first Black and Minoritised-led whosesaler, had invited friends to commemorate his investiture as “an OBE.” According to Steve “While I received my award in January 2021 - work, pandemic and life has meant that I am only accepting the award now, and hence this celebration event.”
Kicking off proceedings, Edu-tech expert, Jason Holt who doubled as compere described Stephen Bediako as “a genius who has built great things in his life,” before speaking about Steve’s attributes; “such humility, such kindness, interactions that are full of joy and deep thinking.”
The tributes and praise came pouring out all evening.
Tom Sleigh, Chair of the Barbican thanked Steve for his invaluable contributions as a Board Member of the Barbican Centre and “for all the work you have done especially in helping us make good progress in the area of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and congrats on your OBE.”
Mercy Shibemba and Katie Fowler, Board Chair and CEO respectively at The Social Innovation Partnership were not thrifty with praise.
Mercy who spoke about Steve’s influence and mentorship thanked him for “learning from you and sometimes allowing me teach you how to use TikTok. Your total commitment to creating teams that work is inspiring.”
Katie Fowler on her part praised Steve’s strategic mindset and for the honour of “building on the foundation Steve has built over the past 10 years. Congratulations Steve, it’s a major achievement and thank you for giving me the honour of looking after your prized enterprise.”
Dilys Winterkorn, Project Director at Pathway Fund, who spoke about Steve’s contribution to the setting up of Pathway fund, harped on his impact and focus on legacy.
“What keeps coming up is your impact and all you have achieved. It’s all about action, impact and legacy, things we need to effect change which is why I believe the time is now for a new BM-led wholesaler.”
A visibly moved Stephen Bediako in responding to the tributes and plaudits invited his siblings on stage where he thanked them and the guests for putting up with him over the years noting that “you’ve all influenced and shaped me.”
All images by photographer Abi Oshodi.