The Black Equity Organisation (BEO) and Sky Group put budding entrepreneurs through their paces as they hosted a Dragon’s Den-style pitch day where founders from the F100 Growth fund presented their business idea and proposals to a funding panel in a bid to secure up to £15,000 investment in their projects.
The F100 Growth Fund is the £1m partnership between BEO and SKY, set up to back Black British entrepreneurs and help them launch and grow their businesses with access to supply chain workshops and mentoring support.
The Demo Day was the last step of the programme for 20 founders who have spent the last 12 weeks participating in a series of online and in-person workshops helping them hone their business plans, ambitions and providing opportunities to learn from industry experts, Sky executives and mentors. The mentoring relationships will continue until the end of March 2023.
The finalists, chosen from over 500 applicants pitched to the F100 Growth Fund review panel and other investors. In addition to the presentation, the day also included a fireside chat and keynote with angel and venture investors as well as an opportunity to network.
Following last week’s event, we are pleased to announce the following businesses have received funding:
BEO’s interim CEO and Director of Programmes & Partnerships, Timi Okuwa, said: “It’s great to celebrate the successes of our first cohort of Black British founders who have received funding. They are to be congratulated, we wish them well on the next stage of their business journey and look forward to seeing how they grow in the coming years. This partnership with Sky Group is a fantastic example of how corporate business can provide opportunities for Black entrepreneurs and businesses to engage in their procurement processes. We are excited to announce that we’ll be looking for our second cohort of businesses in mid 2023, so keep your eyes peeled for more information. I would also like to thank Allen and Overy for the programme legal support and WPP for the use of their space for workshops and the F100 SG for their ongoing guidance and support.”
David Carrigan, Group Director of Diversity, Inclusion & Wellbeing, Sky, said: We’re delighted to congratulate the first cohort of winners of the F100 Growth Fund. This year’s winners demonstrated a unique commitment to driving economic growth in and around their communities, and we look forward to seeing how these companies continue to realise success. We’re proud to work with the BEO to spotlight, celebrate, and support the UK’s Black-owned businesses. At a time when Black-owned businesses still face barriers to accessing capital and resources, we are proud to be supporting the creation of economic wealth in the Black community, and to create opportunities for Black entrepreneurs to contribute to a rich and diverse SME business economy.”
Driving economic empowerment and equity of opportunity for Black people and businesses is one of six key areas of focus for BEO. 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.