Barclays has announced it is launching a 12-week virtual accelerator programme designed to help early-stage tech businesses, founded by one or more Black entrepreneurs, in order to boost diversity in entrepreneurship.
The accelerator, in partnership with Foundervine, an award-winning social enterprise specialising in digital start-ups, includes a series of expert masterclasses focused on a number of core business skills, including product development, sales strategy, operations and leadership. The founders will be mentored by and receive professional coaching from scale-up experts.
Over 140 businesses have applied to take part in the accelerator, of which 25 successful businesses will be selected to participate in the programme.
The programme will start on November 12th and will last 12 weeks. It will culminate in a demo day in which founders will have the opportunity to present their business to potential clients and investors. In addition, through the programme, participants will gain access to the UK-wide Eagle Labs network and exclusive access to community events through Barclays Eagle Labs.
The launch of the Black Founder Accelerator comes as Barclays celebrates Black History Month and further demonstrates its commitment to the Race at Work agenda, and its Race at Work action plan.
Natalie Ojevah, Ecosystem Manager at Barclays Eagle Labs, who led on the creation of the programme, said: “Having worked with businesses for a number of years, and in my current role supporting founders and start-ups, I have seen the lack of diversity, especially with Black entrepreneurs. I realised this was a national issue, so working with my colleagues and Foundervine, we have launched the Black Founder Accelerator. Foundervine’s track record of supporting Black founders and businesses will help us to make a real difference and I am delighted to see the programme come to life.”
The launch of the programme is supported by the work of acclaimed photographer Misan Harriman, the first Black male cover photographer for British Vogue, and Oscar-nominated director Cornelius Walker, whose short film highlights the difficulties faced by Black entrepreneurs and the need for programmes to support Black founders into entrepreneurship.
Izzy Obeng, Managing Director of Foundervine, said: “I am delighted to be partnering with Barclays Eagle Labs to launch the Black Founder Accelerator. Together we have the opportunity to help level the playing field for Black founders – building a more equitable future where successful founders come from a wide range of backgrounds.”