How Virgin Unite is supporting organisations helping Black entrepreneurs with the Founders Unite Award

Holly Branson smiling with Karl Lokko and Lola Cawood of Black Seed Ventures and Tiwani Heritage in Brixton Village
Clipstone Productions
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
25 November 2022

Amidst the current economic uncertainty in the UK, it is still an exciting time to found a business. According to Virgin StartUp research, there are around two million people who started a side project during lockdown, and a further one in four presently interested in launching a business alongside their main job.

Businesses run by Black, Asian and other minority ethnic people provide an outsized value to UK society, contributing to the economy and providing communities with jobs and innovations that meet diverse needs. These businesses promote integration, challenge perceptions, break down social barriers and contribute to an inclusive economy, all while their founders face more hurdles to achieving business success.

However, research has also shown that for members of Black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities in the UK looking to start or grow a new business, valuations, support, mentoring opportunities, and access to investment all present additional barriers to success.

Virgin Unite has launched the Founders Unite Award to address this inequity – an award to recognise ‘systems changers’ who are working to tackle these systemic, entrenched barriers.

There are many impressive individuals and organisations working across the UK to improve the reality for members of Black, Asian and other minority communities looking to start or grow a business, and Virgin Unite’s Founders Unite Award exists to recognise and amplify their work. Initiatives could include advocacy, capacity building, research, campaigning, mentoring and/or providing access to funding.

Entries are now open for the award, but hurry – you only have until midday on Monday 9 January 2023 to apply.

Submissions will be judged by a panel of business and diversity experts chaired by Virgin Unite Trustee, Nathalie Richards.

Nathalie said: “Virgin Unite can’t wait to hear from organisations from across the UK that are committed to addressing the barriers we know Black founders face in starting and growing a business. Whether it’s through research, advocacy, capacity building, mentoring or funding, if you’re changing the game for Black and minority ethnic-led business, we want to hear from you! Good luck!”

To enter, simply fill in this form before midday on Monday 9 January 2023, with details of the work you do, the difference it makes and what support you would like to draw from the Virgin Unite community.

Enter the Founders Unite Award now.