Council support for over 460 local business pioneers from diverse backgrounds

12 March 2024

  • Southwark Council’s pioneers fund supports anyone with a business to reach their full potential.
  • Over 460 local business pioneers have been supported to date, of which 67% are from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds; 75% female; 4% disabled; 18% young people.
  • Grants worth over £147k has been awarded to 29 businesses, including £10k to Black Cowboy Coffee in Elephant and Castle.

Southwark Council is proud to celebrate the diversity of local businesses and entrepreneurs supported by its flagship business-support programme, the Southwark Pioneers Fund (SPF).

The fund’s programme of support is for people looking grow their business in the borough, including people just starting out or from underrepresented groups.

To date, 289 enterprises and 179 aspiring entrepreneurs have been supported by the fund, of which 67% are from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds; 75% female; 4% disabled; 18% young people. They all have access to support across marketing, sales, pitching, finance, leadership, business management and more.

In addition to a wide range of support on offer, businesses are able to apply for grants to invest in their business. Over £147k has now been awarded in grants. This includes a £10k grant awarded to Black Cowboy Coffee in Elephant and Castle.

Emeka Kuizhi Otagburuagu, founder of Black Cowboy Coffee stood in front of the coffee macine wearing a cowboy hat and boots
Emeka Kuizhi Otagburuagu, founder of Black Cowboy Coffee

Emeka Kuizhi Otagburuagu, founder of Black Cowboy Coffee, said: “The Southwark Pioneers Fund has helped ensure the growth of my business over the next few months and years. I have been able to invest in a three-screen high-end digital menu display and a new menu design by a local student from the University of Arts. The impact was immediate: the menu being more visible increased the average spend of customers. I also used the grant funding to pay for a labelling machine and tall freezer, which has helped with food safety compliance and storage issues. I have the utmost gratitude for the hands-on support from Southwark Council and Hatch Enterprise.”

Cllr Kieron Williams, Leader of Southwark Council, said: “Southwark’s diversity makes the borough what it is, including our amazing local businesses and entrepreneurs. Everyone should be able to take a business idea and make it grow with the right support, which is what our pioneers fund is all about. Our support and funding has reached people from all backgrounds wanting to take their business to the next level, including Emeka at Black Cowboy Coffee. It was fantastic to learn about the positive impact of our pioneers fund, which in turn will help us build a resilient and fairer economy for all.”

The council teamed up with their business support partners Trampoline and Hatch Enterprise to help participants take their business to the next level.

Mellissa Morgan, Co-Head of Programmes at Hatch Enterprise said: “At Hatch, it’s our mission to build a better world through entrepreneurship by supporting underrepresented founders across the UK. We know that funding is often one of the key challenges for early-stage founders, and this is even more evident in the current climate.

“We’re really pleased that our partnership with Southwark Council has allowed us to offer grant funding to these amazing new businesses, giving them the opportunity to grow the reach and impact they are able to have in their sectors and communities.

“We’re constantly impressed by the innovation and the passion of the founders who come onto Hatch programmes, and look forward to seeing all that the grant recipients achieve as a result of this extra support.”

Claudine Bongo, Executive Director Founder of Trampoline, said: “Harnessing the rich tapestry of cultures and perspectives within Southwark, we unlock unparalleled opportunities for innovation and growth. Our commitment to fostering an inclusive ecosystem ensures that every entrepreneur can approach their dreams from an informed place. The individual's identity and story are what drive business and change within Southwark, proving that diversity is not just a strength, but the very foundation of our success.”

The second round of grant awardees under Southwark Pioneers Fund’s Grow Your Enterprise programme in partnership with Hatch:

  • DKUK, a hairdressers in Peckham that showcases art
  • ShiroKuma Health & Fitness in Camberwell
  • Chase Gardens, a garden design and creative maintenance studio in Camberwell
  • Wakuda, an online marketplace for gifts and lifestyle products from Black creators
  • WeDesign who specialise in creative design, branding, marketing, and communication
  • Just Fab Kitchen, a delivery kitchen service based in Peckham
  • Black Cowboy Coffee who sell fair-trade coffee beans from their coffee shop in Elephant and Castle

The second round of grant awardees under Southwark Pioneers Fund’s Launchpad programme in partnership with Trampoline:

  • Affinity Lash, an award-winning eyelash studio in London Bridge
  • Zoe's Heavenly Creations, who specialises in cake-making, painting, photography, and creative classes
  • Detailed Occasions, an event planner and decor business
  • Uproot, an online marketplace for all things organic and sustainable
  • Chrisbolly, who specialise in African fusion cuisine
  • Scale4 offering construction and maintenance services
  • STUDIO 27°, a creative booking platform and members club for artists
  • The Carib Pot, a catering business specialising in Caribbean cuisine based in Bermondsey
  • Sauna Ceremony
  • Sophistique Training, a social enterprise offering hairdressing and barbering training
  • Bun Dat Bakery, a small-batch microbakery delivering across South London

Page last updated: 12 March 2024

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