Nominations are set to open across multiple categories for the fifth installment of an annual awards show that celebrates Black Excellence in arts, business, education, finance, law, media and social care across the UK.  

The Potential Unlocked Awards, the brainchild of Birmingham-based educator/ author David C Hall, has been shining the spotlight on commonly unsung heroes and sheroes since its founding in 2018.

Recalibrated to celebrate ‘Black Excellence and Inspiring Achievers Under 40, Hall is again on the lookout for unheralded talent to celebrate, inspire and move away from negative narratives that commonly resurface when Black youth and aspiration are discussed.

Hall and the Potential Unlocked team are looking to keep the bar high for the Potential Unlocked Awards 2025, which will take place next February, by collecting another stellar group of nominees across the following categories, when they open on Wednesday 3rd July 2024 and close on Friday 4th October 2024.

  • Academic Excellence 
  • Community Service Hero
  • Creative Arts
  • Educator 
  • Educational Leadership Excellence
  • Entrepreneur
  • Financial Excellence 
  • Inspirational Person
  • Legal Excellence Luminary
  • Media & Communication Excellence
  • Medical Trailblazer

Outstanding Contribution to Children

  • STEM Award
  • Thought Leader 
  • Visionary Property Investor 

Nominees are also being sought in the following categories, which will feature in next year’s ceremony:  

  • Rising Phoenix Award
  • Young Author Of The Year
  • Young Entrepreneur Award

With the Potential Unlocked 2024 Awards as a guide, next year’s event, set to be held in similar opulence as hosts Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham, will be something to behold. Its stellar roster of nominees from across the UK included Jessika Inaba – who made history to become the UK’s first blind, Black barrister.  After triumphing in two categories – for Academic Excellence and Inspirational Person – she said: “I anticipated a great night, but not winning. I was nominated alongside so many phenomenal people, some I know. It was wall-to-wall Black excellence on the night.”

Jessika, backed by her parents and three siblings, navigated the challenges that faced an ambitious student blighted by bilateral microphthalmia, a condition in which neither eye fully develops. Jessika has no recollection of having sight. 

After her A Levels, Jessika’s assent to gaining bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law, and now working towards a PHD, came with assistance also from fellow students and eventually lecturers. With materials transcribed and audio recordings made of textbooks and lectures, Jessika finally had  resources in accessible formats. Prior to her speaking out after her first degree, she literally had no material to work with.  

Now also applying to qualify to the state bar as an attorney in California over the next year, she said: “I feel a great responsibility being female, Black and blind. It’s on me to make the path of the next Black, female or blind person to the bar smoother because I’ve played a part in dismantling key obstacles. This has been helped by winning those awards at Potential Unlocked 2024.”

“Jessika embodies what Potential Unlocked is all about: celebrating success and paving the way to equalize opportunity for those who have often been excluded,” added Hall. “We have expanded the categories to help us recognize and celebrate more people, often from challenging backgrounds who are deserving but have often been denied.”

The nomination period will start on Wednesday 26th June 2024 and close on Friday 4th October 2024. The nomination forms will be assessed by Potential Unlocked Award’s panel of judges and the eventual winners will be crowned at the Potential Unlocked Awards 2025, which will take place next February.

Nominations can be made in various ways to Potential Unlocked by:

  • Telephone : 0121 405 0853
  • Email : 

For nomination criteria, visit


Photography is available on request. For more information, contact David C. Hall on email to or telephone 0121 405 1983.

Notes for Editors:

The Potential Unlocked Awards 2024 winners are:

Academic Excellence: Jessika Inaba

Community Service Hero: Elizabeth Zeddie Lawal, creative producer and theatre maker

Creative Arts: Phillipe Genus, graphic designer

Educator: Boaz Adelekan, Mathematics Teacher Inspirational Person: Jessika Inaba

Educational Leadership Excellence: Adrian Rollins, headteacher & Ofsted Inspector.

Entrepreneur: Ameena Badley, music industry force and female music manager

Financial Excellence: Adrian Benjamin, Financial Protection Advisor

Legal Excellence Luminary: Jamal Jeffers, family law barrister

Medical Trailblazer: Dr. Jessica Katanga, medical doctor and content creator

Media & Communication Excellence: Theo Chikomba, broadcast journalist

Most Transformed Student: Kairo Francis

Outstanding Contribution to Children: Black Men Teach, black male educators’ network

STEM Ambassador: Virtue Igbokwuwe, Graduate Civil Engineer

Student of the Year: Esinam Adom

Thought Leader: Jenny Okolo, forensic occupational therapist

Visionary Property Investor: Emilio McCalla, Director of E & R Property Group

  • To see the highlights of the Potential Unlocked Awards 2024, click here
  • Potential Unlocked also operates a tuition centre in Aberdeen Street, Winson Green, Birmingham, where its teachers provide small group support to dozens of primary and secondary school children.
  • David was diagnosed with dyslexia aged three and speaks openly about struggling with his schoolwork; and would regularly become frustrated. In Year 6, David achieved Level 2b in his SATs, which is equivalent to an average Year 2 child.  With supportive parents and intrinsic motivation to succeed, he left secondary school with 10 GCSE passes, A* to C. He progressed to graduate with a degree in Chemistry and a post-graduate qualification enabling him to teach science up to A Level. 
  • David has since proceeded to author two best-selling books (‘The Empowering Parent’ and ‘Inspire Your Child’s Greatness‘), an award-winning learning consultant and motivational speaker. 
  • David is married to social worker Natalie. They have a ten-year-old daughter, Hannah.