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Rounding Up Access to Finance in 2021
Last month, Extend Ventures co-hosted Build Black Better, a Black Business Week event exploring the opportunities as well as the challenges Black entrepreneurs encounter in accessing funding to scale their businesses. The event, which was co-hosted with Lendoe and sponsored by Goldman Sachs’s Launch with GS, was a huge success, with nearly 200 attendees. Highlights included an insightful panel discussion moderated by Extend’s co-founder Erika Brodnock, a video message by Lord Michael Hastings and an interview with serial entrepreneur Tom Ilube CBE.
Erika’s panel brought together senior influencers and leaders from the Black business ecosystem, as well as those who support Black entrepreneurs. Speakers included Eric Collins, CEO of Impact X; Damian Thompson, Group Managing Director, Retail Finance at Aldermore; Karl Lokko, Co-Founder and Chairman of Black Seed Ventures; Jamie Broderick, Director of the Impact Investing Institute and Demi Ariyo, Co-Founder of Lendoe. The panelists spoke of the need to create long-term wealth in our communities and shared important practical advice on how to build venture-backable businesses.
“You have to lead with audacity,” said Karl Lokko. “A lot of the time we’ve been churned out to be standardised citizens but being standard doesn’t cut it.”
Eric Collins added that Impact X was looking for founders with the ability execute on their ideas. “We want people with great ideas but also with a plan for how they’re going to make it happen,” he said.
The event ended with Tom Ilube, Founder and CEO of Crossword Cybersecurity, in conversation with Goldman Sachs’ Seun Toye-Kayode, who leads Launch with GS in the UK and Europe.
Extend Ventures would like to thank all the speakers and participants, as well as those who worked behind the scenes to make the event a success.
Research Roundup - Black wealth creation and women in leadership
Promoting prosperity and reducing inequality in the Black British community was also the focus of a report released earlier this month. Sponsored by the Executive Leadership Council, the report estimates that closing the Black British wealth gap could result in a £25.2 billion increase in the UK’s GDP. In 2020, a study by Citigroup found that racial inequality cost the US economy $16 trillion over the past two decades.
“The whole of the UK would benefit from the resolution of the Black racial wealth gap, mitigating the risk of long-term economic and social inequality,” noted Marcel Hedman, who led the team of authors. “Now is the moment to act, at a time of huge global change driven by such events as the digital revolution and climate change.”
The full Black British Wealth Creation report can be accessed here.
Dismantling the barriers that Black professional women face in the workplace is also key to closing the wealth gap. Extend Ventures Co-Founder Erika Brodnock co-authored a report with Dr Grace Lordan seeking to understand why Black women have the lowest probability of being among the top earners in the UK. The report, sponsored by Mastercard and The Inclusion Initiative (TII) at the London School of Economics, calls for greater transparency on pay and promotions for Black women working in finance, professional services and big technology to counter “mirrortocracy”.
“Black women have for far too long been overlooked, and as a result are consistently missing from industry's C suites, as well as the top 1% of earners. The problems the ‘mirrortocracy’ creates for Black women, their organisations, and the economy at large can no longer be ignored,” said Erika Brodnock. “We do not need more data, we need more data-driven change that is effectively evaluated and leads to an increase in the number of Black women on boards, leading top tier organisations and reaching their full economic potential.”
At Extend Ventures, we’ve tirelessly championed Black founders and published research highlighting the racial disparities in access to venture capital funding in the UK. While huge challenges remain, we’re thrilled to celebrate the success stories and would like to congratulate the founders of Marshmallow, AudioMob, Oja and Afrocenchix on their recent fundraising rounds.
Marshmallow, founded by twin brothers Oliver and Alexander Kent-Braham, achieved unicorn status after raising $85m in their Series B round; AudioMob, founded by Christian Facey and Wilfrid Obeng, raised a $14m Series A round; and Oja, whose founder Mariam Jimoh, was featured in our newsletter last year, raised $3.4m in a pre-seed funding round led by LocalGlobe. Finally, Afrocenchix, founded by Rachael Twumasi-Corson and Jocelyn Mate, secured $1.2m in seed funding from Google. You can read more about their journey here.