Black-owned restaurants across the UK are set to receive a cash boost as Uber Eats significantly expands its Black Business Fund in 2022.
In collaboration with Enterprise Nation and Be Inclusive Hospitality, the Uber Eats Black Business Fund will award a total of £250,000 to twenty-five small Black-owned businesses. At least half of the grants will go to small businesses outside of London.
Black-owned restaurants with fewer than five locations can now apply to the Uber Eats Black Business Fund with applications opening on October 14th and closing on November 25th. As well as funding to help grow their businesses, restaurants will receive special mentoring from Enterprise Nation.
As research shows, Black-owned businesses can face particular barriers to success. In the UK, just 5 per cent of small or medium sized businesses are run by people from minority backgrounds, with Black and Mixed ethnicity groups the least likely to be self-employed. Research shows:
43% of Black business owners believe that ethnicity has hindered 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 ten approaching banks for finance – according to Lloyds Bank.
hospitality workers from Black/African/Caribbean and Black British backgrounds are among the least likely to be in the highest paying occupations across all age groups – according to the Resolution Foundation.
Lorraine Copes founder of Be Inclusive hospitality, said: “The launch of this initiative is really timely. The theme for Black History Month this year is Time for Change: Action Not Words’, and this fund, and mentorship will help in a very tangible way to remove some of the barriers that Black business owners continue to face, during an extremely difficult trading period. I am delighted to partner on this initiative for a second time, and I really look forward to the scale of social impact possible this time around”
Emma Jones MBE, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: “This initiative is so needed right now. Our recent Barometer found food and drinks businesses were amongst the first to be affected by the cost-of-living crisis. Yet some businesses in the industry like those in the Black business community had barely recovered from the impact of the pandemic before the next crisis hit. The financial support is phenomenal and the mentoring is about helping them to focus on the elements of their business that they can control, and develop strategies to manage the elements they cannot.”
Matthew Price, General Manager at Uber Eats UK & Ireland, said: “Small businesses and restaurants are the heart of local communities, and we’re honoured to give so many a platform on Uber Eats. Given the barriers that Black owners face, we are incredibly proud to expand our support of small Black-owned businesses across the country. Through this fund we want to help the next generation of chefs and entrepreneurs thrive.”
In 2021, Uber announced a $10 million investment to support Black-owned small businesses on the platform around the world.
In the UK, Uber Eats first launched the Black Business Fund in 2021 awarding ten £5,000 grants to restaurants across the country. This year it has increased its support by five times to a total £250,000 grant pot – significantly scaling the support available for Black-owned businesses. Last year, grants were awarded to restaurants in London, Manchester and Coventry.
Chloe Bailey-Williams, owner of the Breakhouse Cafe in London, received a grant from the 2021 fund. She said: “The hospitality sector is facing so many challenges right now so when I received a grant it was such a lifeline. We opened in September 2020 in between the two lockdowns, so we had so much to deal with so the cash gave us the breathing space we needed. Now we have stripped the menu right back and have started hosting acoustic gigs and book launches. I know there will be challenges ahead but I’m optimistic we can make it work.”
Jess and Jo Edun, owners of The Flygerians, also received a grant last year. They said: “The money from Uber Eats helped us kick start our restaurant The Flygerians in the Peckham Palms arcade. One of the biggest challenges of new businesses is cash flow and the Uber Eats fund will help ease some of those worries.”
For more information on the Black Business Fund, please visit the Enterprise Nation website here.