NatWest and Black Seed launch partnership to support black entrepreneurs
NatWest, the UK’s biggest business bank and Black Seed, a venture capital seed fund dedicated to black founders in the UK, are working together to support over 10,000 black entrepreneurs across the UK to fast-track their businesses. Funding from NatWest will help the bank combine forces with Black Seed to deliver workshops online and in person to early stage business owners.
The partnership kicks off with a start-up weekend in Brixton, London, on 18 to 20 November 2022. Free tickets are available to black entrepreneurs now and NatWest has provided a £10,000 fund that businesses can pitch for during the weekend. The pitching panel will feature Julie Baker, head of enterprise at NatWest, as well as other experts in scaling businesses. There are also plans to do a similar event in Manchester in the new year.
Alongside this, NatWest will also deliver workshops at Black Seed’s new Brixton accelerator hub, sharing skills on securing investment and growing a business. Topics include building a resilient business model and mindset. The content comes from the workshops which are taught across the bank’s 14 nationwide accelerator hubs. NatWest will also record online content on these topics for Black Seed’s website, which will be available to all. NatWest’s partnership with Black Seed helps to support CREME’s recommendations in its Time to Change report, which says that if black and ethnic minority entrepreneurs got the support they need then it could boost the amount they contribute to the UK economy from £25bn to £100bn a year.
Julie Baker, head of enterprise at NatWest Group, said: “We’re committed to supporting black entrepreneurial talent and our partnership with Black Seed builds on our success in having 27% of our NatWest accelerator places going to ethnic minority business owners. The partnership also helps deliver recommendations that came out of CREME’s Time to Change report, which we supported.
“By working with Black Seed to deliver online and in-person expertise we can give strong support to ambitious black business owners who want to take their company to the next level. The partnership is a positive next step and we look forward to exploring more opportunities to support Black and ethnic minority business talent.”
Cyril Lutterodt, president and managing partner of Black Seed, said: “black founders are over-mentored and under-funded. We believe that when we economically empower underrepresented communities, we all stand to gain from the benefits. This partnership highlights NatWest as a journeying partner to deliver support to these underrepresented businesses.”
Karl Lokko, chairman of Black Seed, said: “Black Seed is more than a VC, it’s a community. We want to empower black founders to build the impossible.”