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This initiative aims to support 1,000 UK BAME entrepreneurs


A NEW programme from London non-profit, Foundervine, is uniting sixty young black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people with dynamic entrepreneurship labs to test, build and pitch new digital tech ventures for 54 hours.

For one weekend, participants will gain experience in collaboration, leadership, communication and decision-making under severe time constraints.

EY Foundation along with Pivotal Labs and Monzo Bank have been the first companies to pilot the model, hosting the programme and giving these future founders the unique opportunity to experience building a startup from scratch in such an intensive time period.

So far, the organisation has helped 325 young people startup through their programmes but wants to scale up to reach 1,000 young people by the end of 2020. It’s not easy to break down systemic barriers to starting a business for young people from BAME communities.

According to Foundervine, there is no one reason for the lack of diversity in tech. However, it’s key that as a society, we invest in enterprise education that can transform aspiration and attainment for young people within these communities. A big part of this is raising awareness of opportunities in the tech sector.

“London is home to some of the biggest tech companies in the world, but many of these communities don’t have access to the opportunities that are literally on their doorstep”, says Izzy Obeng, founding director of Foundervine.

The lack of awareness about careers in technology doesn’t help. Obeng studied an undergraduate degree at University of Bristol, where she received coaching on starting a business and leading projects that ultimately led her to start her career at KPMG.

“But in many universities, a lot of students leave never having experienced these opportunities,” she explains.

“Our mission is to empower all young people to test, build and launch new ventures. London is one of the most vibrant, diverse cities in the world and we want that to be reflected in tomorrow’s digital tech economy.”

The next Startup 54: The Future of Finance will be taking place on 8th - 10th March in collaboration with Monzo Bank and Elastic.

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