£100 million for UK black businesses

A high profile team of investors tell The Voice they believe the next globally successful company will come from our community

MEMBERS OF THE IMPACT X TEAM: l-r Ezechi Britton, Yvonne Bajela, Eric Collins, Erica Motley and Paula Groves.

Innovative black-led companies in the UK are set to benefit from a £100 million investment fund created by a unique team of venture capitalists who arestrategically targeting businesses that also deliver a positive social impact.

Black-owned and managed venture capital (VC) firm Impact X has recently been launched to invest significant money in the businesses of under-represented groups such as the African Caribbean community and women in this country and across Europe.

VISION: Impact X CEO Eric Collins

DIVERSE

It is managed and advised by an accomplished and ethnically diverse teamthat has over 500-years’ worth of investment and management experience.

Among the founding members of the team are Paula Groves, General Partner, and a co-founding partner of the £54 million technology focussed  fund Axxon Capital who has over 20 years’ private equity and investment experience; Ursula Burns, Vice Chair, Digital & Technology, the first black woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Xerox, and named as one of the most powerful women in the world by Forbes; Eric Collins, CEO, a serial entrepreneur who has helped sell companies to the likes of Microsoft and Nuance as well as running a number of successful venture capital  companies  across the world and  Ric Lewis, Impact X Investment Committee Chair, who is also the founder, Chairman and co-CEO of the largest black owned business in the UK, Tristan Capital Partners, a real estate investment firm with £11bn under management.

According to recent research by the Economic and Social Research Council, businesses run by Black and minority ethnic (BME) entrepreneurs were estimated to contribute between £25-£32 billion pounds per year to the British economy.

Other figures, published in 2017, from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), highlighted the fact that the Total Early Stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) rate among non-white Britons was 14.5 per cent, compared to 7.9 per cent for white Britons.

INVESTMENT

Yet despite growing levels of entrepreneurial activity in the BME community, aspiring black business owners often struggle to get significant investment to help their businesses grow.

Statistics also reveal that only 1 per cent of  VC  investments –  a private or institutional investment made into early-stage or start-up companies that have huge potential to grow – go to black owned businesses.

Female led businesses fare only marginally better receiving just 4 per cent of such funding.

OPPORTUNITIES

The overwhelming majority of VC investments go to white university educated men. Impact X sees this as a huge gap in the VC market that offers real opportunities. 

Speaking exclusively to The Voice about the project Collins the disparity in funding is a real gap in the market that offered investors real opportunities.

He said: “Everyone can look at the numbers and say black entrepreneurs in Europe, no matter what country we’re talking about, whether its France with its 8 per cent black population or the UK with its three per cent black population and realise very quickly that only a very small sliver of risk capital, or in our case venture capital, goes to supporting black-owned businesses. And we find that because of that there are businesses that just don’t get opportunities or just don’t get created.  We believe that the next Air BnB or the next Google is going to come from a black entrepreneur who is sitting around thinking of creative ways to solve problems that her community sees.”

The idea to create Impact X came out of a meeting of high profile entrepreneurs, investors and celebrities including Sir Lenny Henry that took place in May 2018.

You can read the full version of this story in the latest edition of The Voice out now

Comments Form

7 Comments

  1. | frank douglas

    Great project. However you have committed a very critical fact: the meeting that took place was hosted by Tom Ilube CBE. Tom organised a ‘hackathon’ with many from the BAME creative and business communities. A host of ideas came from that meeting and the Impact X porject was deemed the most worthy. Tom was the ‘first mover’ for this project.

    Reply

  2. | Sam Francis

    We are a Performing Arts organisation and would like to learn more about this project,our organisations is called X7eaven.

    Reply

  3. | Stanislaus Louis

    Very interested in the possibility of obtaining and making an application for start up business finances
    Kind Regards

    Stan louis

    Reply

  4. | Lorna Markland

    Excellent! Is Tom still involved with the project?

    Reply

  5. | Sandie Duncan

    Hi I am the co owner of a Massage School. London School of Complementary Health. I am wanting to develop my school in more cities in the Uk as a franchise and in Ghana/Gambia and other African countries.

    Reply

  6. | Raw Kay

    Hi I would lIke to know more info and to receive an application if possible?
    Many thanks

    Reply

  7. | Valma James

    Hi Eric,

    Thank you so much for offering your service to the African and Caribbean community. I would be interested in speaking to your about developing community based health care services for people with mental health. I am a qualified nurse and social worker and perceive that services can be improved to meet the needs of the black community in respect of mental health care.

    Reply

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