Celebrating Black Founders: The Hatch Pitch Competition

Last Thursday to celebrate Black History Month, Hatch hosted our very first pitch competition to showcase the huge talent, innovation, and growth potential of Black-founded businesses in the UK.

The event was held at The Trampery, Old Street, and welcomed a range of attendees from Hatch graduates, to representatives from our corporate partners, investors, Hatch team and more.

"The atmosphere was absolutely contagious - being able to see our founders pitch their amazing businesses, and our corporate partners and the public engaging with the work we do was incredibly motivating. Can’t wait for more in the future."

Cecília Veríssimo, Hatch Community Manager

Black entrepreneurs typically face additional barriers to launching and growing their own businesses, particularly in terms of accessing finance and mentorship.

A report analysing data on 3,784 entrepreneurs who started companies between 2009 and 2019 revealed that just 38 Black entrepreneurs received venture capital funding. Alongside their teams, they received just 0.24% of the total sum invested.

The support that we provide at Hatch is designed to level the playing field and build a fairer society with equal opportunities, providing tailored programmes and support to those typically underrepresented in entrepreneurship, including Black founders.

All those pitching at the event had the opportunity to compete for the specific prize that would most benefit their business, across the areas of increasing capital and building connections. 

We were privileged to hear pitches from six inspiring Black founders in the Hatch community, each with incredible businesses that they are looking to grow.

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Kyle Frank, founder of Frank’s Remedies: Vegan skincare that clears and de-stresses acne skin types, with a strong focus on social impact.

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Atinuke Awe, founder of Learning with Ez: Diverse educational resources for babies and toddlers because representation matters for all.

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Nathaniel Peat, founder of The Safety Box: An accredited company delivering interventions focused on supporting young people to stop offending behaviour and engage in education and employment.

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Brenda Kola, founder of Orbit: Experts at creating meaningful and intimate conversations that help build and strengthen communities – a place for mothers to share stories and connect with other women.

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Jane Visram, founder of Mama Dolce: A delicious range of luxury, free-from ice cream inspired by wholesome, high-quality ingredients.

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Olaoluwa Olupona, founder of House of Ola: Creating African inspired activewear that encourages you to make fitness a lifestyle.

All founders gave passionate pitches about their businesses, their journey as a founder, and their vision for the future of their company.

The judging panel had a difficult decision allocating prizes, and chose to award Kyle Frank the membership to Connectd, Jane Visram the mentorship with Pizza Hut, and Nathaniel Peat the training in crowdfunding. 

Atinuke was the winner of the audience vote for her business Learning with Ez, taking away the Go-to-Market Support Package.

All of those pitching received personalised feedback from the panel of experts, as well as the opportunity to spotlight their business in a room full of investors, potential partners, and other Black founders in the start up space.

"The atmosphere and energy in the room was beautiful, positive and supportive. Even though it was a competition, I definitely felt like every founder left the event a winner."

Shakirah Akinwale, Judge

At Hatch we know that Black business founders in the UK face additional barriers to launching and growing their own businesses.

From access to funding, introductions to networks, and the safety net of generational wealth, these advantages in entrepreneurship are not equally distributed across society, and can significantly prevent Black founders from reaching their potential.

By providing Black founders with a supportive community, practical training, and opportunities for grant funding, we’re playing our part in evening out those inequalities. 

But whilst we’re proud to be making a difference in the start-up ecosystem, founders tell us time and again that more needs to be done to create a truly equitable system where Black founders have the same opportunities to unlock their business potential.

We want to see more investors recognising Black talent, more consumers using their power to support Black businesses, and more Black founders taking the leap to bring their business idea to life.

Get Support

If you’re a Black founder looking to launch or grow your business, look no further.

Corporate Partnerships

If you want to partner with Hatch and support more Black businesses to thrive, speak to our team today.

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