Uber Black Business Fund: 25 Black-owned businesses win a share of £250,000

Uber Black Business Fund: 25 Black-owned businesses win a share of £250,000

Posted: Fri 3rd Feb 2023

The Black Business Fund set up by Uber Eats in collaboration with Be Inclusive Hospitality and Enterprise Nation – sees £250,000 distributed to 25 small Black-owned businesses across the country.

Almost 600 restaurants applied to the fund, with over half of the winners based outside London, from towns and cities including Leeds, Bristol, Blackburn, Huddersfield and Gloucester.

Register your interest for the next Black Business Fund.

The full list of winners

Here are the 25 businesses that won a share of the £250,000 fund:

Why the Black Business Fund exists

Black business owners face particular barriers in accessing investment and finance, with Black workers most likely to say ethnicity hinders their career progression.

In the UK, just five per cent of small or medium-sized businesses are run by people from ethnic minority backgrounds, with Black and Mixed ethnicity groups the least likely to be self-employed.

According to research:

  • 43% of Black business owners believe that ethnicity has hindered their career progression – the highest of any ethnic minority group, according to Be Inclusive Hospitality

  • among Black business owners, the biggest concern for accessing finance are worries about taking on debt (34%), with only three in 10 approaching banks for finance, according to Lloyds Bank

How the money will help

Londoner Santeni Brown, who gave up a career in fashion to open her first restaurant, was named one of 25 winners of the Black Business Fund.

Santeni cooked her first ever dish of corned beef aged nine and worked in fashion before opening Dinner at San's in Brixton. She refined her skills at dinner parties and supper clubs before opening the restaurant last year.

Santeni Brown, founder of Dinner at San's, a Brixton restaurant and winner of the Uber Black Business Fund, holding a cocktail aloft

Santeni says:

"My philosophy is that Caribbean food should look as good as it tastes! I started by refining dishes at home for family and friends and the restaurant has just kept on growing.

"I was born in Jamaica where food is a huge part of the culture. Bringing the energy of London and Jamaican food culture together has been such an amazing experience.

"Going forward I want to keep championing women of colour and people from underserved communities – helping to recruit and train staff looking to make their way in hospitality.

"With this grant I want to expand to a bigger unit, invest in staff, and take my marketing to the next level. For anyone looking to start their own restaurant I would say: start small, master your niche, and then the rest will grow from there."

Rachel Boma Olatoke opened Harvest Afro Caribbean, Windsor's first Afro Caribbean restaurant, with her husband after they both lost their jobs during the pandemic. They had dreamt of starting their own restaurant for 25 years and finally took the plunge in 2020.

Rachel says:

"It all started in our home kitchen testing out recipes with the kids. Moving from the kitchen to Windsor high street felt like a very bold move, but it's been a wonderful journey.

"Customers are at the centre of what we do – we want to ensure we're giving them a great experience and showcasing Black excellence through food, sight and sounds.

"After investing our life savings into the business, this grant will really help us take it to the next level. We plan to use the grant to improve our marketing and invest in expansion – potentially through a buffet, pop-up or a food van.

"Since the beginning we've been providing food for the homeless in our community so I of course want to keep up that support."

Matthew Price, general manager of Uber Eats UK, says:

"We're delighted to significantly increase the support available through the Uber Eats Black Business Fund this year. Small businesses and restaurants are the heartbeat of local communities and each recipient has an inspiring story to tell.

"We want to help the next generation of chefs and entrepreneurs succeed and we hope these grants will allow them to thrive."

Emma Jones CBE, founder of Enterprise Nation, says:

"Tackling the barriers that Black-owned businesses face is vital if we're going to unleash the skills of more of these talented entrepreneurs into our economy.

"The Uber Eats Black Business Fund has been instrumental in highlighting these issues and delivering funding and practical business advice to help ambitious chefs and street food business founders to develop and take their businesses to the next level."

Congratulations to the winners who will go on to receive mentoring and grant funds to grow their businesses.

You can find more black-owned restaurants to support across the country on Black Eats LDN.

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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