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ERYCA FREEMANTLE, the conscientious businesswoman living for global impact

Eryca is a Life Coach, Entrepreneur, Global Beauty Strategist, Counsellor, Property Expert, School Governor and Diversity Champion. Eryca is known to many as a leading figure. Her resilience and ability to keep going makes her an inspiration to women. With over 35 years’ experience in the business sector, she has carved out a career as a leading expert, diversity specialist, educator, public speaker, wealth creation and a conscientious businesswoman.

A proud Black woman, Eryca has played a key role in influencing businesses to rethink their strategies on inclusion; her most notable campaign being the creation of ‘Embracing All Tones of Women (E.A.T.O.W.), which launched at the Houses of Parliament in England. She is in demand across the globe including England, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Gambia, Dubai, Turkey and USA. She has spent the last 15 years dedicating her life to building solid relationships in Africa.

From a young age, she has battled bullying, abuse and a horrific car accident which left her without hair, and she almost lost her leg too. Most people would give up after this amount of pain, but not Eryca.

Dedicating most of her adult life to fighting for her seat at the table as Black women in the UK do, she continues to champion women of colour. As every door closes, she finds more doors to knock on, and continues to fight for every woman to be the best they can be in their chosen field, irrespective of skin colour. Her fierce resilience and caring personality has inspired women of all ages to be the best they can be, and through her coaching and mentoring, she supports others to overcome issues which holds them back from taking the next steps on their journey to be the best version of themselves.

Her clients are worldwide. By providing her expertise in connecting professionals and high achievers, comes with access to valuable insights, inspiration, and opportunities. She provides the tools and expertise needed for her clients to embrace their power and build themselves up.

She has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, and numerous other publications. A Mentor, Ambassador and Life Coach for the Prince’s Trust, and a former advisor to London College of Fashion.

Eryca is proud to be the Governor of a top school, where learner’s outcomes are the top 5% in England.

Memories of childhood

I was sexually abused at age 4to 6 years old by my uncle. He made me promise to hush and let no one know. He made me believe it was ‘our’ secret and I was not to let anyone know till I am 48.

I was bullied at school between the ages of 5 to 16, and was seen as the silly girl in school. I played the silly girl, I was abused, spat upon and beat up consistently. That was not all, I was repeatedly told I was ugly and I believed it. This went on every day of my life until I was 17. By this time, behaving abnormally became the norm for me.

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When I got to my 20s, I was hit by a car in a petrol station whilst paying for my petrol. The result was really bad. I lost all my hair, had over 250 scars to my face, and almost had my left leg amputated. My leg was broken in 5 places.

Later in life, I went into the makeup and property business. I chose makeup artistry because I wanted to help people cover up their scars on their face. I became one of the world’s leading consultants in the beauty space, not really pursuing makeup artistry as I thought I would, but working for some of the biggest brands in the space. 1995 was very peculiar to me because, it was when I achieved one of the biggest breaks in my life.

At age 47, I had a nervous breakdown, 5 fibroid operations, full hysterectomy, hip replacement, open back surgery and was paralysed for two years. I lost my confidence and fought for my sanity all by the age of 50.

What keeps you going despite all you have been through?

I am not my past. I tell a lie if I say, sometimes, the memories of my past doesn’t hunt me, but I have since decided that it will not get the best of me. That is why I ensure I keep learning, making impact and positively influencing lives.

Leading professionals from the beauty, property, lifestyle and business communities from the UK, USA in pioneering diaspora trade visit to Lagos, Nigeria.

The E.A.T.O.W delegation aims to establish relationships with practitioners in beauty, business, wealth creation, arts & culture, media & entertainment, creative and lifestyle industries.

This high-profile mission is the first of its kind and brings together prominent black professionals in business, leadership and professional roles across three continents: The UK, USA and Nigeria. The Mission is in partnership with the UK Department for International Trade, EbonyLife Media and EbonyLife Place, and Bepta Travel.

The mission intends to provide UK and USA delegates with an exceptional platform to explore cultural, trade and investment opportunities in Lagos, build influential networks and cement key business relationships. In addition, to celebrate accomplished women across diverse industries and countries, with the aim of inspiring others to achieve their dreams about having a successful career.

Why did you birth E.A.T.O.W? Why the mission to Nigeria?

Embracing All Tones of Women (EATOW) came about out of frustration in the UK. I was being told that as a black woman, I was never good enough.

The idea was birthed many years ago. I just didn’t feel brave enough back then. I feel hard time moves, we grow, and I have grown. I decided to do it. We launched in 2019 at the Houses of Parliament and we have not looked back. We honoured women in the creative arts, beauty industry lifestyle, film and entertainment industry. We first started with the beauty industry but realised excellence is everywhere. I also think as older women, who we are doesn’t often reflect on us. We must do the work to celebrate ourselves. Why Nigeria? Well, Nigeria is my safe place, it is my home. I adore most things about Nigeria.

Being the first of its kind that you are doing here in Nigeria, what do you hope to achieve?

It is first of its kind for us in Africa however, since announcing this project; we are in talks with other female organisations who wish to sponsor and partner across several African countries. Funny, you start and you will be amazed how people champion what you are doing. When we announced we were coming to Lagos, we were asked by over 39 people in UK and USA if they could join us.

We have a delegation of over 25 people joining us. They are experts in their professions. We have a few men too. We are holding a Business Summit on 28th October at EbonyLife Place which is free however, the criteria is that you must be a professional person. We have limited spaces, but like-minded business people can register to hear our various panel discussions. The summit is being held the day before our exclusive awards.

More about your partners you are bringing in

Our team are men and women of the highest excellence in property, wealth creation, modelling and business development. One of our delegates even was the leading educational educator for Pat McGrath. Excellence at its best is what we are about.

Did you have to do anything extra to get them to buy in?

I didn’t have to convince them. They all asked if they could be part of the delegations. We have some very highly successful captains of industries.

We have one of UK’s leading and successful black men in business. When like-minded people come together magic happens. People love Nigeria they just do not know how to enter.

Love for Nigeria

I am a British Jamaican but Nigeria is my heart, my soul and my everything. I just feel her. Though I can’t find the words, it’s a very deep love affair. The opportunities are vast. I have taken my time over the years but I feel her from my toes to the top of my head.

The awards, and why you chose to

Women of a certain age are most times thrown to the scrap heap. Well, not me. The women I am friends with are the same. We are living our next lives and I feel it is important to celebrate women who look like me, all day and every day. The awards are a special event and it is invited guest only.

We will be announcing our honouree vet soon. It’s the best. This is being held at EbonyLife Place on the 29th of October. We are doing this twice a year in Lagos. So we are seeking serious partners and sponsors. We will always have a delegation with us.

Is it a one-off? What should people be looking forward to?

It is a bi annual event. We can’t do one-off. No, this is Pan African centred around Nigeria.

After this event, we will go back to the Houses of Parliament with our delegation and honourees, celebrating in the UK.

Is the event open to all?

We are only trying to connect with like-minded individuals and organisations.

It is not open to all unfortunately. But our summit on the 28th is for the public. First come first serve. We require individuals to sign in and turn up. We will be hearing from phenomenal Nigerians on the panel, who will be sharing on why they left UK and came home. Ladies like Beverley Naya, Seyi Shay, Khafi and others.

How can people reach you for more enquiries?

People should register for the Beauty Business, Wealth Creation Summit only if they want to elevate themselves. Men and women are welcome. I can be contacted by DM on Instagram @erycafreemantle or @eatowglobal. My email address is admin@eatow.co.uk.

Final words

Despite all that is going on around us, I can confidently tell you that Nigeria is blessed. There are so many potentials here. Let no one tell you otherwise. I have been here and though a British Jamaican, I love Nigeria. I love her so much that I am bringing high profiled international investors to come, see and invest. If I see it and experience it, others can also. The narrative of Nigeria can be told by Nigerians in the way they want the world to know and embrace. I believe in her, others should too.

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