Two of Birmingham’s fastest growing business support communities are set to collaborate to provide more opportunities to support individuals from backgrounds usually underrepresented in entrepreneurship – a project which has been backed by the British Business Bank. 

The initiative will invite individuals from backgrounds usually underrepresented in entrepreneurship who are seeking to start their own business to apply to receive fully funded joint support delivered by Birmingham Enterprise Community (BEC) & the Black Pounds Project. 10 applications will then be awarded this support which includes a place on BEC’s 6 week Startup Sprint Programme commencing in September and 12 months of Black Pounds Project membership. Combined, this support will help them to build the skills and knowledge they need to start their own businesses and begin to build the connections they need to enable their own professional development. 

The initiative will prioritise applications from backgrounds including (but not limited to) female founders, founders from ethnic minority backgrounds, refugee founders, founders from the LGBT+ community and founders with disabilities, however anyone is welcome to apply. Both BEC & Black Pounds Project are organisations committed to fighting inequalities within entrepreneurship and have already created a high level of impact within their respective communities as celebrated with individuals from both organisations recently being named on the Business Live 35 under 35 list (Daniel Evans & Omran Al Habbal (BEC) & CJ Webley (BPP)).

The British Business Bank, the UK government’s economic development bank, is backing the project. Last year it published a report entitled ‘Alone together: Entrepreneurship and diversity in the UK’ which examined the profound effects ethnic and economic background, gender and place have on entrepreneurial opportunities.  The Bank’s mission is to drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK, and to enable the transition to a net zero economy, by improving access to finance for smaller businesses.

In total, participants of the Startup Sprint Programme will receive 12 months of support which includes workshops, mentoring, access to events and more. Applications for the programme are open until 20th August and can be submitted by completing the following application:

The programme itself will commence on the 6th September 2021.

“This timely collaboration will offer access to a pool of professional advisors, coaches and mentors who are dedicating their services to help kick start business owners from underrepresented communities. We are looking forward to delivering this programme alongside Birmingham Enterprise Community and British Business Bank” – CJ Webley, Black Pounds Project

“We’ve been working hard to create more opportunities to ensure everyone is given a seat around the entrepreneurial table. Anyone that has an idea should be given the opportunity to explore that further and we are excited to be working with Black Pounds Project and the British Business Bank on being able to reach more people with this support” – Daniel Evans, Chief Executive, Birmingham Enterprise Community. 

“The British Business Bank is committed to working with partners to give every small business the opportunity to prosper and grow, while boosting the long-term economic growth of the Midlands. We are proud to be supporting this initiative, helping under-represented groups start up and scale up their businesses.” – Ryan Cartwright, Senior Manager, West Midlands at the British Business Bank

ENDS

For all media enquiries, please contact Birmingham Enterprise Community. by emailing:

Daniel Evans  || daniel@birminghamenterprisecommunity.co.uk

Notes to Editors

About Birmingham Enterprise Community

Birmingham Enterprise Community (BEC) is a Midlands based social enterprise that supports ambitious emerging entrepreneurs to access resources and build the skills & knowledge they need to take their ideas forward. BEC does this by running a range of initiatives to help individuals from the first steps of their entrepreneurial journey through its Startup Sprint through to scaling the business through BEC’s flagship FORWARD Accelerator programme – a six- month intensive programme of support for high growth businesses.

About The Black Pounds Project

The Black Pounds Project (BPP) is a community interest company which provides business information and signposting assistance to culturally diverse entrepreneurs; and equips them with the necessary tools to start, build and scale a sustainable enterprise. BPP offers a unique mentoring programme which supports business owners at any stage to identify and overcome any perceivable barriers to growth, such as access to financial services. Referencing the ‘Alone Together’ research report  conducted by British Business Bank in 2020 and Lloyds Bank’s ‘Race Action Plan’, “1 in 5 ex black business owners closed their businesses due to a lack of finance” whilst “28% of black owned businesses reported making no profit”.  BPP offers several solutions to this problem, through a flexible pre start-up course, online resources and monthly membership options for business owners to benefit from workshops, promotional offers, and discounted rates on affiliate products and services.  

About the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK, and to enable the transition to a net zero economy, by improving access to finance for smaller businesses. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank’s core programmes support over £7.9bn[1] of finance to more than 93,000 smaller businesses[2]. Between March 2020 and March 2021, the British Business Bank was responsible for running the government’s Coronavirus business loan schemes, delivering more than £79bn of finance to over 1.67m businesses.

As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses. The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success. In light of the coronavirus pandemic and EU Exit, the Finance Hub has expanded and it now targets a wider business audience. It continues to provide information and support for scale-up, high growth and potential high growth businesses, but now provides increased content, information and products for businesses in survival and recovery mindsets. The Finance Hub has been redesigned and repositioned to reflect this, during this period of economic uncertainty.

British Business Bank plc is a public limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. It is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. They are not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A complete legal structure chart for the group can be found at www.british-business-bank.co.uk


[1] Figures as at 31 December 2020

[2] Figures as at 31 December 2020