British Business Bank commissioned to convene a Working Group on Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs to feed into the Prime Minister’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities

Press release 16 October 2020

The British Business Bank, the UK’s economic development bank, has been commissioned by Number 10 to convene an industry-wide Working Group on Access to Capital, which will explore the barriers to entrepreneurship and access to finance that impact groups currently marginalised or under-represented across the UK.

The recommendations will feed into the ‘Employment and Enterprise’ sub-group as part of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, set up by the Prime Minister in July 2020 to review inequality in the UK. In addition to employment and enterprise, the Commission’s sub-groups will focus on education, health and the criminal justice system.

Creating more opportunities for people from all walks of life to make the most of their skills and talent is vital to the success of the UK and its economy. Catherine Lewis La Torre CEO, British Business Bank
Entrepreneurs, regardless of their background, should be equally welcomed and supported in the world of business. However, who the person is and how they fit in to the society around them can too often impact the range of options open to them as well as the barriers they face. Catherine Lewis La Torre CEO, British Business Bank

The Working Group draws upon expertise from the entrepreneurial, academic, investor, start-up and small business banking communities to shine a light on these issues. It will make tangible recommendations to the Commission and Number 10 on how to create more equality of opportunity for the UK’s Black, Asian and Other Ethnic Minority entrepreneurs.

The Working Group is comprised of leading experts from across the financial sector and is chaired by Henry Obi, Partner at Helios Investment Partners.

Recommendations from the Working Group will be delivered by the end of October 2020 and will be practical, deliverable, and grounded in evidence. The Working Group will consider the ways in which existing access to finance schemes could be enhanced, as well as how new schemes could be implemented to address these issues. They will call on a range of organisations to act, including central and local government, the British Business Bank, financial services providers, universities to the private sector.

In addition, the British Business Bank has undertaken a significant research project and will publish the findings in its report, Alone together: Entrepreneurship and diversity in the UK later this month. This new report shows in detail the challenges facing the UK’s entrepreneurs. Looking at ethnicity, gender, place and money, a sobering picture emerges that calls for commitment and action and it will inform the Working Group’s response to the Commission.

Notes to editors

Working Group Members

  • Henry Obi, Partner, Public & Regulatory Affairs, Helios Investment Partners (Chair)
  • Eric Collins, Founder and CEO, Impact X
  • Andy Davis, Co-Founder; Angel Investor, 10×10; Atomico
  • Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, Co-Founder, Redington
  • Monder Ram OBE, Director, Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship
  • Catherine Lewis La Torre, Chief Executive, British Business Bank
  • Amanda Murphy, Head of Commercial Banking, HSBC
  • Izzy Obeng, Managing Director, Foundervine
  • Elizabeth Oni-Iyiola, Development Director, Inclusive Boards
  • Gary Stewart, Founder, The Nest
  • Ravi Singee, Director, Magnum Clothing
  • Francesca Warner, Partner; Co-Founder, Ada Ventures; Diversity VC

About the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank programmes were supporting more than £8bn of finance to over 98,000 smaller businesses at end of March 2020. Since March 2020, the British Business Bank has launched four new Coronavirus business loan schemes, delivering tens of billions of pounds of finance to over a million businesses.

As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses:

The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to high-growth businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success. The site also features case studies and lessons from real businesses to guide businesses through the process of applying for growth finance.

As the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank, British Business Bank plc is wholly owned by HM Government and is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank operates through a number of subsidiaries, none of which are authorised or regulated by the FCA or the PRA.

British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries can be found on the British Business Bank plc website.