04 March 2022

HSBC UK is working in collaboration with the University of East London (UEL) and four other universities across the UK to pilot a competitive enterprise programme that will target aspiring entrepreneurs from under-represented and low-income backgrounds to bring their business ideas to reality.

The programme will support students of black and minority ethnic backgrounds from the University of East London, Aston University, University of Bedfordshire, De Montfort University and Kingston University to bring their commercial aspirations to life.

The programme is now live with successful candidates from each university embarking, in March, on a 12-week bespoke course run by Start Up Discovery School. The programme will culminate with a finals day to be held in HSBC UK's Birmingham Head Office in June.

Rebecca Moodie, Head of Careers, Enterprise and Mentoring, University of East London said, "The University of East London are delighted to be working with HSBC on this pioneering programme that seeks to address some of the barriers faced by black and ethnic minority entrepreneurs when starting a business.

"We have a shared commitment to nurture and develop a diverse talent pipeline and original collaborations like this are vital to raising the aspirations of entrepreneurial students and supporting them with the skills, network and a platform to springboard from and turn their ideas into a viable, thriving business.

We are looking forward to seeing the entrepreneurs develop over the course of the programme and hope that this kick starts a generation of national black and ethnic minority role models who can inspire other aspiring student entrepreneurs.”

Kemi Badenoch MP, Minister of State for Equalities said,  "We're pleased to see HSBC act on the Commission's recommendation by launching their Student Incubator Programme to collaborate with a number of universities across the UK. The programme is designed to support aspiring entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds to bring their commercial ideas to life and help entrants to attain the business skills they need to aid their long-term success. We want programmes like this to encourage more people from ethnic minority backgrounds to flourish and to build the next generation of entrepreneurs."

Peter McIntyre, Head of Small Business Banking, HSBC UK added,  "We are delighted to support new aspiring entrepreneurs and look forward to seeing their creative ideas at the pitch day at our HSBC UK head office in Birmingham. We are committed to ensuring that access to finance is fair and open to all entrepreneurs and are delighted to be able to further enable these students to start their businesses and to nurture their entrepreneurial talent."

The successful candidates will receive One to One HSBC UK mentoring from Commercial Banking Relationship Directors alongside guidance from the Start Up Discovery School, access to HSBC UK customer webinars and some modest financial support to enable them to bring their commercial ambitions to fruition.

Gosbert Chagula, Co-Founder, Start Up Discovery School said, "The early support that entrepreneurs receive, particularly in the early stages really does have a disproportionate impact on their long term success prospects. This impact is even more pronounced when concerning ethnic minority students who typically may not benefit from deep social and professional networks or early funding from family and friends. This programme is designed to both nurture and grow participants whilst ensuring they are connected to wide ecosystem of support from both across HSBC and beyond."

It is hoped that the pilot will provide a model for other banks and financial institutions to emulate in collaboration with universities as a way to nurture talent, encourage innovation, and offer support to aspiring entrepreneurs from underrepresented and low-income backgrounds across the UK.

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