Islington Council is launching a business support scheme to help fledgling entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups make their business a success.

The partnership with Islington-based race equality charity Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG) is another first for the council, as it helps its communities to build back differently amid the coronavirus pandemic, creating stronger, more equal and inclusive local economies.

The Inclusive Entrepreneurship Programme will support early-stage entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups, particularly those from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds, women and founders with a disability. These groups often face disproportionate and significant barriers to success, including difficulty securing finance from banks and finding it harder to access business support. In the UK, businesses run by Black entrepreneurs are almost twice as likely not to make a profit as those run by White entrepreneurs.

To help address these barriers, the programme will provide tailored business support through a mix of one-to-one sessions with a business advisor, masterclasses, peer-to-peer learning groups and a seed funding pot of £136,000 to support entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground.

Cllr Asima Shaikh, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Inclusive Economy and Jobs, said: “Many talented people in our Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities have great ideas and big ambitions for their own businesses, but face additional barriers getting them off the ground compared to entrepreneurs as a whole. Many need extra support in a changing world.

“We have partnered with BTEG to manage the programme on our behalf because we know they share our determination to address this inequality and help our communities build back differently in the midst of the pandemic. This programme will provide the expert advice and seed funding our underrepresented communities need to make lasting success a realistic goal, helping new businesses to grow – and, in turn, creating jobs for local people and feeding the Islington economy.

“The Inclusive Entrepreneurship Programme builds on our fantastic inclusive economy and employment work already under way in Islington, and I look forward to seeing many more entrepreneurs finding success as a result of the expertise and funding available through BTEG.”

Islington Council’s innovative, targeted inclusive economy work has helped more than 4,000 people into decent jobs since April 2018, nine months ahead of target, and generated £1million of social value through its innovative affordable workspaces programme, offering local entrepreneurs the space, the training and the networking opportunities to build their small and micro enterprises.

Tebussum Rashid, deputy chief executive of BTEG, added: “We have supported Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and organisations for over 30 years, including those in Islington. We know that many people from these backgrounds are entrepreneurs or have sound business ideas they want to get off the ground – but need support in order to do this. We are delighted to be working with the council on this crucial programme, which will lead to positive outcomes for many more people in the borough.”

Applications for the programme open on 10 January and close on 21 January. To find out more now, and to apply once the scheme opens on 10 January, visit

For more information about the support available, email [email protected]

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