Barclays Eagle Labs is launching its second 12-week virtual accelerator programme, designed to help early-stage tech businesses founded by one or more Black entrepreneurs, in order to continue to help boost diversity in entrepreneurship.
The accelerator, in partnership with Foundervine, an award-winning social enterprise specialising in digital start-ups, includes a series of expert masterclasses focused on a number of core business skills, including product development, sales strategy, operations and leadership. The founders will be mentored by and receive professional coaching from scale-up experts.
Applications are open until the 8th October to UK-based digital and tech start or scale-ups with a minimum viable proposition for their business and with one or more Black founders.
Over 200 businesses applied to take part in last year’s Accelerator, of which 25 successful businesses were selected. This year the cohort will increase in size, with 40 businesses to be selected to participate in the programme.
All applicants to the Black Founders Accelerator programme, whether they are successful at securing a space on the Accelerator or not, will receive ongoing support from Barclays Eagle Labs, through events, wider programmes, learning materials, mentoring and by building peer networks.
For those 40 businesses selected to participate in the programme, the Accelerator will commence on the 22nd of November and will last 12 weeks, culminating in a Demo Day in February 2022, at which a number of founders will have the opportunity to present their business to potential clients and investors. In addition, through the programme, participants will gain access to the UK-wide Eagle Labs network and exclusive access to community events through Barclays Eagle Labs.
One company to benefit from the 2020 Black Founder Accelerator is ScribePay, a fintech focussed on the subscription payments market, building an app and virtual payment card offering that will allow consumers to have full visibility and control of their subscription payments, working to solve the ‘subscription trap’.
Delphine Emenyonu, co-founder of ScribePay, said: “I applied for the Barclays Black Founder Accelerator because we were in a stage where we needed to develop our idea into a potential working solution, so the accelerator came at the right time when we needed a boost to take it to the next step. The fact that it was dedicated to Black founders appealed to me – it’s very challenging to be a founder but there is additional challenges being a person of colour, so I felt it would meet both my business needs and my cultural needs as well.
“I learnt so much from the programme and it has really accelerated our business - when I first came, it was just an idea, now we’re building the MVP. And when the programme ends, it’s really the beginning, you become a Barclays Eagle Labs alumni, gaining access to online resources, events and networking opportunities that have been instrumental in driving our business forward.”
Liz Boadi, Ecosystem Manager at Barclays Eagle Labs and the 2021 programme lead, said: “After the success of the 2020 Black Founder Accelerator, we knew we had to run another accelerator and open it out to more founders. The feedback we received from last year’s cohort was amazing and we want to build on that and help even more Black entrepreneurs this year. We hope by giving the founders access to the knowledge and expertise we can help accelerate their growth and unlock the potential that we know is waiting.”
Izzy Obeng, Managing Director of Foundervine, said: "Foundervine are proud to be partnering with Barclays for a second year. The Barclays Black Founder Accelerator is designed to elevate founders and remove barriers. We do this by connecting them to the mentorship, resources and training they need to move their venture to the next level. Whether that’s raising their first round of funding or making their first sale, the Foundervine network is here to make that happen.”