Ulster Bank backs four local entrepreneurship initiatives with new enterprise fund

  • Ulster Bank has partnered with four organisations to support investment opportunities for entrepreneurs across Northern Ireland.

    Belfast Multicultural Association; LEDCOM and The Simple Series; Awaken Hub and Enterprise North West, have each been awarded £15k through Ulster Bank’s Enterprise Fund to support projects aimed at promoting and encouraging entrepreneurship.

    As part of Ulster Bank’s purpose-led strategy to support enterprise funding, the new partnerships also align with Ulster Bank’s commitment to increasing representation for females and ethnic minorities within the field of entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland.

    Each of the four successful organisations will put this grant money towards delivering fully-funded programmes for new, underrepresented entrepreneurs.

    Established in 2019, the Ulster Bank Enterprise Fund came as a direct result of the Rose Review which found that access to finance was the number one barrier recognised by female entrepreneurs and those from ethnic minorities, with only 6% of all-female teams receiving funds. 

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    The Rose Review, which was first published in 2018, also revealed that only 13% of senior people in UK investment teams are women while around 50% of investment teams have no women whatsoever. To date, the funding has supported almost 1,500 women throughout Northern Ireland either directly or throughout involvement with the programmes it has supported.

    Speaking on the enterprise fund, John Ferris, Regional Ecosystem Manager with Ulster Bank, said: “Since the publication of the Rose Review, Ulster Bank has made a clear commitment to levelling the playing field so that anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur can have these ambitions realised, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or location.”

    Mr. Ferris also added “It is increasingly clear that there is an urgent need to address the imbalances around accessing investment. We hope that through our Enterprise Funds and by working in close collaboration with our four new partners we can deliver more progressive opportunities for entrepreneurs, create jobs and drive further investment, particularly in the North-West where two of our recipient organisations are based.”

    Ali Khan, a trustee of the Belfast Multicultural Association which was the subject of an arson attack earlier this year, explained that the Ulster Bank Enterprise grant would help the organisation reach out to entrepreneurs from within the local minority communities.

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    Mr. Khan said: “We know from our day-to-day community work that lots of our service users have great ideas and ambitions to start or grow their own business but don’t know where to turn to for support. We know the value that business ventures can have a hugely positive impact on these communities and so our mission is to equip any potential entrepreneur with the skills and networks they need to get their idea off the ground.”

    Other beneficiaries of the fund include the Awaken Hub which is going to pilot it’s SheGenerate programme for female founders. LEDCOM and The Simple Series who have partnered together to launch the Seed Formula; a support programme targeted at female entrepreneurs in rural areas and the Enterprise North West who are creating opportunities for FE college students around Northern Ireland. 

    Source: Written from press release.


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    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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