Rise: New enterprise programme for ethnically diverse business founders

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Lydiah Igweh

A new programme to develop black and minority ethnic business talent in Oxfordshire has been unveiled by Oxford University Brookes Enterprise Support, in collaboration with Foundervine.

Rise is a nine-week training programme to develop the potential of a diverse range of entrepreneurs with specialist masterclasses, mentoring, guest speaker sessions and an invaluable pitching experience. 

Rise begins in January 2021 and is open to Oxford Brookes students, graduates and the wider Oxfordshire community. 

Developing ambitious diverse entrepreneurs

Lydiah Igweh, Director of Oxford Brookes Enterprise Support said: “Firms owned by people of African and Caribbean origin generate over £10 billion for the British economy. Yet such businesses face multiple challenges, for example, the UK’s £3.2bn ethnic pay gap.

“Rise will raise awareness of, and develop, ambitious black and ethnically diverse entrepreneurs. Their enterprise can benefit us all, through job creation and boosting the economy. The programme will enable them to launch and scale their businesses, access funding and build confidence and connections.” 

Supporting new impactful start-ups

Enterprise Support has partnered with Foundervine, an award-winning social enterprise organisation, which aims to change the global outlook of entrepreneurship for individuals, regardless of their background or ethnicity.

Izzy Obeng, Managing Director of Foundervine, added: "We're delighted to be partnering with Oxford Brookes to bring together people who have the potential to build ideas that will transform our economy. Supporting underrepresented founders is a top priority for us. 

“Launching Rise in partnership with Oxford Brookes gives us the unique opportunity to combine our platform, network, and resources, to support innovative ideas and help founders successfully develop new, impactful start-ups. We can’t wait to see what our cohort will accomplish.”

What to expect on the Rise Programme

Rise is completely free to apply for and attend. Those accepted will take part in an intensive nine-week training programme designed to enhance business skills, as developed through the Spark and FUEL programmes. 

The Rise programme culminates in a ‘Demo Day’ where participants are invited to present their company to a virtual room with invited guests from the University, Foundervine, partners, mentors, speakers and alumni.

Applications close on 19 January 2021 - for more information and to apply please visit: /enterprise/funding-and-opportunities/rise-programme/

Pictured: Lydiah Igweh, Director of Oxford Brookes Enterprise Support