It took Marta Krupinska 2 years of heading up Google’s startup efforts in the UK to launch perhaps the most impactful of programs to date. The goal to help black entrepreneurs level up in the United Kingdom.
Marta and her colleague Rachael Palmer worked tirelessly with a broad range of Google’s stakeholders to implement the largest investment in black founders and diversity that Google has made to date in Europe. The non-dilutive grants of up to $100,000 per selected black startup will be paired with other Google for startup benefits such as Ad words and Google cloud credits worth up to $220,000. Marta is convinced that the help will be valuable to those that are able to qualify and win the awards, coming from a $2 million fund. 30-35 startups with black founders will be better off thanks to this innovative programme.
The Black Founders Fund for Europe is being run out of Campus London, the startup hub backed by Google and first set up by Eze Vidra. Google recognises what has become more pronounced over the last decade. Black founders across the UK, France, and other European countries need access to networks, capital, and resources. There is both a supply and demand-side challenge with less than 3% of those cutting the cheques at Venture Capital funds being black. The numbers are paltry with only 0.5% of VC funding going to black founders in the UK.
While not a panacea, the fund is well intentioned and a great start to help Black Founders. Gary Stewart, previously one of the few Black VCs in London (previously with Wayra) and a leading voice that champions diverse founders in the UK recognised the effort in a post on Linkedin: