Sky has announced a £1m partnership with newly launched civil rights group, the Black Equity Organisation (BEO), to deliver the Future 100 Growth Fund, backing Black British entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses.
As BEO’s first official programme partner, Sky will provide funding and support over three years to help overcome the significant barriers faced by young Black entrepreneurs in Britain when setting up businesses.
Announcing the partnership, Sky’s Group CEO, Dana Strong, said: “At Sky we want to share our platform and capability to create lasting change for Black British entrepreneurs. We are pleased to be working with BEO to provide direct assistance and advice from Sky to help make the UK a great place for Black businesses.”
Chair of Trustees of BEO, Dame Vivian Hunt, added: “Together with Sky, BEO is super excited to announce a multi-year partnership that will support Black entrepreneurs and positively impact their businesses. The Future 100 Growth Fund will back the next generation of Black founders to thrive and succeed. We can’t wait to see what the applicants achieve through this programme as they drive growth across their businesses and for the UK economy.”
Driving economic empowerment and equity of opportunity for Black people and businesses is one of six key areas BEO will focus on. Research has highlighted that in the 10 years between 2009-19, only 0.24% of the total invested in UK start-ups from venture capital funding went to Black entrepreneurs. Just 0.02% went to Black female entrepreneurs.
The Future 100 Growth Fund has been built to address this and will provide direct support – funding, strategic business advice, supply chain access, coaching, mentoring – for Black entrepreneurs and founders with innovative ideas.
This is a unique tie-up between a UK civil rights organisation and a business partner that is specifically designed to get behind Black business founders, supporting them to grow sustainable and long-lasting businesses.
BEO’s partnership with Sky began in 2021. The Future 100 Growth Fund is a key part of the Sky’s £30 million commitment to tackle structural inequality and make a difference in communities impacted by racism.
The Future 100 Growth Fund will:
- Offer funding of up to £15,000 for the most innovative new business ideas and exciting existing companies.
- Create a network of mentors and community organisations to advise and assist new enterprises through direct financial support and products nurturing talent and innovation.
- Support Black founders and entrepreneurs with relevant knowledge and skills, and social capital.
- Provide access for Black entrepreneurs to supply chain, connections and insight from a large corporate.
- Conduct new research into what works in overcoming barriers faced by Black British entrepreneurs, to encourage investment in future programmes and create models for supporting Black founders in British business.
- Work to diversify Sky’s own supply chains and create greater opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The programme is open to applicants between 18 and 30 years old of Black African, Black Caribbean, Black British and/or Mixed-race descent who are UK residents. The fund will support Black entrepreneurs who are looking to bring a business concept to life, have a fledgling business that they want to scale, or have the beginnings of a thriving business.
Notes to Editors
To find out more about the Future 100 programme and for details of how to apply visit https://blackequityorg.com/future-100-growth-fund/
Research on VC funding for Black entrepreneurs: Diversity Beyond Gender, The State of the Nation for Diverse Entrepreneurs https://www.extend.vc/reports
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About the Black Equity Organisation (BEO)
The Black Equity Organisation (BEO), launched in 2022, is an independent civil rights charitable organisation aimed at advancing justice and equity for Black people and communities in Britain.
Our Board of Trustees comprises of: Dame Vivian Hunt (Chair), Siobhan Aarons, Athian Akec, Marc Boisson, Karen Blackett OBE, Michelle Daley, Yvonne Field, Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE, David Lammy MP, Ric Lewis, Professor David Olusoga and Marcia Willis Stewart QC.
The BEO’s areas of focus are: Economic empowerment and equity of opportunity; Education; Justice, immigration and rights; Culture, awareness, representation and respect; Health, wellness and care; and Housing and Community.
At launch, the organisation has received support from Sky, Lankelly Chase and Open Society Foundations, as well as leading law firms Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Clifford Chance, Freshfields, Herbert Smith Freehills and Slaughter and May.