Key Fund tackles BAME barriers to investment

Key fund, a leading social investor that operates across the North of England and the Midlands, is looking to support social entrepreneurs from ethnic minorities.  

The move from the organisation, which offers loans and grants (investments) between £5,000-£300,000 to social enterprises in some of the most deprived communities, is in response to the ongoing research from the Black United Representation Network (BURN) that shows only a fraction of ethnic minority businesses in Manchester are accessing and securing investment.  

Experts involved in the study concluded productivity could be boosted by almost £4bn in the Manchester region alone, if steps were taken to dismantle the barriers black and Asian business leaders face.

An example of this is according to the Minority Businesses Matter Report, one million of the six million businesses in the UK are minority owned, yet people from minority groups face greater exclusion from the financial system.

Matt Smith, CEO of Key Fund, said: ‘Key Fund has a long history of reaching the most disadvantaged places, but we’re aware the most marginalised groups in these places have traditionally been unable to access finance. Our mission to create successful communities can’t work if there are people still left behind. There is a profound need, and we have to step up to meet it.’

‘At Key Fund, we pride ourselves in getting the right money, into the right hands, at the right time. We need to do more to address shocking discrimination,’ Matt said. ‘If you’re a social entrepreneur who has been turned down by your bank, or struggled with cultural or language barriers, our door is open. Please talk to us.’

Barriers include discrimination, and the lack of customised business and application support, delivered by diverse providers.

Dr Marilyn Comrie OBE, an award-winning social entrepreneur and founder of BURN, said: ‘Understanding the specific barriers that ethnic minorities face is a crucial first step in creating solutions that can overcome long-standing racial inequities. We’re thrilled Key Fund as leaders in the social investment sector, has recognised this issue, and look forward to working with them to help our economy be one where all can thrive.’

Key Fund’s commitment to inclusivity will feature a series of workshops aimed at ethnic minority social entrepreneurs, offering translation services as required. It is actively championing its existing BAME clients in the hope to inspire others.

Image: Key Fund 


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