No.30 Justice Williams
Power 50 2009 - new entry
No.30 Justice Williams
Inner City Creative Media Group
Last year: n/a
Category: Third Sector
This year, at the age of 28, Justice Williams became the youngest black woman in the UK to be awarded an MBE.
She was honoured for her services to young people in Birmingham, including founding the Inner City Creative Media Group which trains 17 to 26-year-olds in media and business skills.
As a result of Justice’s work with ICCMG, young people, who might otherwise have struggled to find their way into work, have gone on to set up businesses like an internet cafe, a dance academy, street theatre company, or work in graphic design. More than 100 youngsters have used the service called Creating Successful Entrepreneurs, which has received funding from the Barrow Cadbury Trust.
Justice has also put social media skills to creative use with young people who are inhibited from moving about because of the fear of passing through an area where they are at risk of being attacked. Through ICCMG, she has enabled them to learn skills online and use social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace to make contacts and develop their businesses without getting into threatening territory. She has also used Facebook to mediate between young women in rival gangs.
Tru Life magazine is another of Justice’s entrepreneurial projects. Launched in October last year, as an urban chic lifestyle magazine for aspirational young women, it is aimed at Birmingham women aged between 18 and 26, who influence their peers by their lifestyle choices.
She is also a founder of Candy Floss Music, which develops musicians, manages and publishes them and has a digital record label. And she acts as a consultant to Amariah Associates, a business development consultancy specialising in the creative and cultural industries.
But she has not always put her considerable talent and energy to such constructive use and spent 15 days in jail in 2001 for theft and possessing an offensive weapon.
Justice, who was brought up in a middle-class family in Harborne, left home to live in Handsworth when she had finished school but fell in with the wrong crowd after struggling to pay her rent and continue with her studies.
Being in prison was a wake-up call to Justice as she realised she had a choice about the way she lived her life. After prison, Justice did voluntary work with Young Disciples, a charity working with hard-to-reach young people in inner-city Birmingham.
She became a full-time project administrator and then training and development manager and through that grew in her understanding of young people who were facing disadvantage, whether that was a broken home, or having parents on drugs, or being involved in gangs, or taken into social services care.
From there, she branched out into being self-employed, setting up social enterprises to enable youngsters to turn their creativity into thriving businesses. As someone who has turned her own life round, she is a powerful mediator, mentor and role model.