We talk a lot about making the tech sector a more inclusive space in the South West. Whilst igniting the conversation is a fundamental first step, to make any impact we have to create tangible solutions. The Black-led racial justice organisation Black South West Network (BSWN) is doing just that to catalyse genuine change within our community. 

In collaboration with LV= General Insurance, the group is launching a new incubator tailored specifically for Black and minoritised entrepreneurs looking to enhance the use of tech in their businesses. There is only one week left to get your application in. The deadline is 7 April 2023, and you can apply for a spot on the incubator here.

Creating spaces for Black entrepreneurs to thrive 

The British Business Bank has found that 30% of Black and Minoritised businesses introduce at least one “product innovation” per year compared to 19% of other businesses. However, only 2.5% of technology leadership positions in the UK are held by Black and Minoritised individuals and only 2% of the £13.2 billion that was invested in startups across the country last year went to Black and Minoritised startups

Between 2009 and 2019, ethnic minority entrepreneurs only received 1.7% of capital. Within this 1.7%, black entrepreneurs received 0.24% and black female entrepreneurs within that 0.24% received only 0.02%, says Ethical Equity. 

To redress these imbalances and release the full innovative potential of Black and Minoritised tech entrepreneurs, BSWN is launching the BSWN Transformation Hub. It is a uniquely Black and Minoritised led programme that will help technology entrepreneurs become investment-ready with a pitch deck and prototype. 

“We have a growing diverse pool of entrepreneurs, and we need to help create the opportunities and change”

Without dedicated initiatives, we’re likely to see these statistics worsen: “As the economy recovers from the compound effects of COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, increasing inflation and interest rates, and as tech becomes ever more integral to everything that we do, the BSWN Transformation Hub will play a key role in our work on inclusive growth, explains Sado Jirde, Director of BSWN. “Our work in creating a context in which everyone can benefit equitably from this economic growth and from their contribution to it.” 

The vision for the Hub is to be progressive, thought-leading, and intentional. It will provide access to sector experts, coaches and mentoring, workshops, and networks, as well as co-working office spaces in Bristol. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to connect with others who share the same experiences and engage with an environment that is high-performance and focused on meeting their needs.

Beyond incubation and development, the Hub will convene with partners to tackle the key inhibitors that drive the structural underinvestment in Black tech entrepreneurs and enable enterprises to navigate new pathways to investment. Technology has and will continue to revolutionise our world. It is imperative to build an ecosystem where all talented individuals can equitably access opportunities.

Commenting on why theta’re supporting the incubator, Venura Perera, Director of Innovation and Development at LV= General Insurance tells us, “We recognise that diversity is so important, to help ensure innovation in the UK is as successful as it can be. We have a growing diverse pool of entrepreneurs, and we need to help create the opportunities and change, for new ventures to be created. By working closely with diverse entrepreneurs, we believe we will have the opportunity to support in new and exciting businesses and I am thrilled to be part of this new Hub to provide guidance and advice.” 

Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.