Barclays launches tech start-up support programme for Black founders

The second Black Founder Accelerator programme will provide business masterclasses for 40 Black founder-led tech businesses

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Barclays Eagle Labs has partnered with Foundervine to launch its second 12-week virtual accelerator programme, designed to support early-stage tech businesses founded by one or more Black entrepreneurs.

Foundervine is an award-winning and inclusive social enterprise specialising in digital start-ups. Through the Accelerator, the founders will be mentored by scale-up experts and attend virtual business masterclasses for a number of key skills including product development, sales strategy, operations and leadership.

The programme comes at a particularly key time for startups due to financial difficulties created by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Participants will also gain access to lab space and exclusive community events through the UK-wide Barclays Eagle Labs network, which offers entrepreneurs and startups coworking and office space to promote innovation and scale-up.

The Black Founder Accelerator will be delivered virtually from November 2021 until February 2022. Applications are open until October 8. To qualify, you must:

  • Be UK-based
  • Be in the tech or digital industries
  • Be ready to scale (either seed stage or beyond, have already received funding or have launched your MVP.)
  • Have at least one founder (or C-suite executive) who identifies as Black or of Black heritage
  • Be available to attend the 12-week course

For the chosen applicants, the programme will commence on November 22 and will last 12 weeks.

Delphine Emenyonu is co-founder of ScribePay, a fintech startup and previous participant of the Black Founder Accelerator 2020. Emenyonu said: “I applied for the Barclays Black Founder Accelerator because we were in a stage where we needed to develop our idea into a potential working solution. The fact that it was dedicated to Black founders appealed to me – it’s very challenging to be a founder but there are additional challenges being a person of colour, so I felt it would meet both my business needs and my cultural needs as well.

“I learnt so much from the programme and it has really accelerated our business – when I first came, it was just an idea, now we’re building the MVP.”

Liz Boadi, Ecosystem Manager at Barclays Eagle Labs and the 2021 programme lead, said: “The feedback we received from last year’s cohort was amazing and we want to build on that and help even more Black entrepreneurs this year. We hope by giving the founders access to the knowledge and expertise we can help accelerate their growth and unlock the potential that we know is waiting.”

Izzy Obeng, Managing Director of Foundervine, said: “Foundervine are proud to be partnering with Barclays for a second year. The Barclays Black Founder Accelerator is designed to elevate founders and remove barriers.”

To apply to the Black Founder Accelerator, click here.

Helena is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has previously written for a popular fintech startup covering everything from money-saving tips to cultural reviews.

She is particularly interested in project management software and the films of Peter Jackson.

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