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Google for Startups is inviting UK-based Black-led tech startups to apply for this year’s Black Founders Fund worth a total of $4 million (approximately £3 million), in an effort to help tackle the stark inequality in venture capital (VC) funding.

Partnering to enable Black Founders

ITV, WPP,  Soho House, and Allen & Overy partnered with Google for Startups to provide support to last year’s grant recipients. ITV gave eligible UK-based startups the opportunity to take part in the network’s industry-leading program which provides £1 million worth of airtime and production in 2022, equity-free. TV ready startups - those with backend operations that could meet the demand TV would create - attended bespoke media education workshops to help familiarize them with the world of TV marketing, The founders of these businesses were also offered media planning and pilot spot production sessions to help bring their TV ads to life.

The Black Founders Fund will be awarded to the most innovative Black-led tech startups across Europe with business plans that showcase how they’re using technology to pioneer creative solutions to all sorts of challenges, from the everyday to the epic. Google for Startups will give each successful company up to $100,000 in non-dilutive cash awards, $200,000 in cloud credits and ad support, 1:1 mentoring by industry experts, and invaluable connections within Google’s network.

The first Black Founders Fund, launched last year, offered $2 million worth of funding to 30 Black-led startups across Europe, 20 of which are located in the UK. The funds were distributed by OneTech, a London based organization supporting underrepresented founders.

Prior to the program’s launch in 2020, less than 0.25 percent of venture capital (VC) funding went to Black-led startups in the UK and only 38 Black founders received venture capital funding in the last 10 years.

The success of last year’s cohort shows the impact that direct and targeted support can have in helping to level the playing field, by supporting Black founders who are disproportionately locked out of access to capital. Across Europe, the founders raised an additional $63 million in follow-on funding and increased their headcount by 21%.

In 2021, 7 of the 16 Black women to receive funding in the UK were part of the Black Founders Fund program and 8 of the founders were featured in Europe’s top 10 Black Founders to watch.

The UK is one of the most startup-friendly environments in the world. Yet, Black startup founders are underserved in access to venture capital. According to an Atomico report, while Black and Multi-Ethnic communities represent 14 percent of the UK population, all-ethnic teams received 1.58% of all venture capital funding. In order to change this, we must work together. We are very grateful to Google for their highly successful European Black Founder Fund initiative and are super excited we can join them and WPP in providing £1 million of airtime and therefore even more value to Black Founders. Ade Rawcliffe, ITV’s Group Director of Diversity and Inclusion

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