Brixton launch for national Black business funding drive

two men pose in covered market
Cyril Lutterodt, president, and Karl Lokko, chairman, of Black Seed in Brixton market

NatWest bank and Black Seed, a venture capital fund dedicated to Black founders in the UK and based in Brixton, are to launch a national partnership here.

The two organisations are working together to help more than 10,000 Black entrepreneurs across the UK fast-track their businesses.

With funding from NatWest, Black Seed will deliver workshops online and in person to early-stage business owners.

The start-up weekend in Brixton is 18 to 20 November. Free tickets are available to Black entrepreneurs now. 

NatWest has provided a £10,000 fund that businesses can pitch for during the weekend.

The pitching panel will include Julie Baker, head of enterprise at NatWest, and other experts in scaling businesses.

There are plans for a similar event in Manchester next year.

NatWest will also organise workshops at Black Seed’s Brixton accelerator hub, sharing skills on securing investment and growing a business.

Topics will include building a resilient business model and mindset.

Content will come from workshops 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.

The initiative follows NatWest support for Aston University’s Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship’s (CREME) report, Time to Change: A blueprint for advancing the UK’s ethnic minority businesses.

cover of report

NatWest’s partnership with Black Seed helps to support CREME’s recommendations in the report, which says that if Black and ethnic minority entrepreneurs got the support they needed, they could boost the amount they contribute to the UK economy from £25 billion to £100 billion 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.

“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.”

The chairman of Black Seed is Karl Lokko, who grew up in Brixton and is a former gang leader turned campaigner for social justice.

He said Black Seed is more than a venture capitalist organisation: “It’s a community. We want to empower Black founders to build the impossible.”

Brixton launch for national Black business funding drive

NatWest bank and Black Seed, a venture capital fund dedicated to Black founders in the UK and based in Brixton, are to launch a national partnership here.

The two organisations are working together to help more than 10,000 Black entrepreneurs across the UK fast-track their businesses.

With funding from NatWest, Black Seed will deliver workshops online and in person to early-stage business owners.

The start-up weekend in Brixton is 18 to 20 November. Free tickets are available to Black entrepreneurs now. 

NatWest has provided a £10,000 fund that businesses can pitch for during the weekend.

The pitching panel will include Julie Baker, head of enterprise at NatWest, and other experts in scaling businesses.

There are plans for a similar event in Manchester next year.

NatWest will also organise workshops at Black Seed’s Brixton accelerator hub, sharing skills on securing investment and growing a business.

Topics will include building a resilient business model and mindset.

Content will come from workshops 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.

The initiative follows NatWest support for Aston University’s Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship’s (CREME) report, Time to Change: A blueprint for advancing the UK’s ethnic minority businesses.

royal at informal meeting
Then Prince, now King, Charles meets Keshia East, founder of No Knot Co and a freelance celebrity make-up artist, at the NatWest Brixton branch during a visit to meet young entrepreneurs

NatWest’s partnership with Black Seed helps to support CREME’s recommendations in the report, which says that if Black and ethnic minority entrepreneurs got the support they needed, they could boost the amount they contribute to the UK economy from £25 billion to £100 billion 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.

“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.”

The chairman of Black Seed is Karl Lokko, who grew up in Brixton and is a former gang leader turned campaigner for social justice.

He said Black Seed is more than a venture capitalist organisation: “It’s a community. We want to empower Black founders to build the impossible.”

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