Tech entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds sought for pioneering SETsquared bursary scheme

September 22, 2022

Bristol’s world-beating tech incubator SETsquared is continuing its commitment to inclusivity in the sector by staging its Breakthrough Bursary scheme for the fourth year.

Targeted at UK tech entrepreneurs from a minority ethnic background, the scheme provides access to tailored business support at heavily discounted rates, including coaching and mentoring, advice clinics, events, skills and training workshops and support in raising investment. 

Those taking part also benefit from SETsquared’s supportive community and three months free access to desk space in a shared office at Bristol innovation hub Engine Shed.

The initiative is funded by the University of Bristol, SETsquared’s founding backer, and the incubator’s alumni.

Fourteen companies have so far benefited from the bursary since its launch to date including South West-based start-ups, raising £2.7m between them.

Some of the scheme’s participants include FlouretiQ, which champions antibiotic stewardship, giving clinicians the near patient tools that they need to unlock optimal patient outcomes, Gritty Talent, which was launched by former BBC producer Mel Rodrigues, to connect the best under-represented talent with decision-makers in the TV industry, and breastfeeding and early parenthood support innovator LatchAid.

Inclusivity tracking tool Inclued  was one of 2021’s five bursary awardees. Its founder and CEO Joyann Boyce, pictured, who has since been named TechSPARK’s Top 50 Rising Star, said: “My experience of the Breakthrough Bursary has been nothing but positive.

“As an entrepreneur you often feel like you are out there on your own, but SETsquared Bristol provides a supportive community of founders at all stages.

“Access to the Entrepreneurs in Residence has been fundamental to mapping out our investment strategy.”

Another of last year’s bursary recipients was Ali Kazmi, founder of the UK’s first dedicated, ethically compliant investment platform Ethical Equity.

Ali, pictured, said: “Being part of SETsquared Bristol via the Breakthrough Bursary has been instrumental to our success. In particular, having access to market/founder insights and SETsquared’s extensive network.”

SETsquared Bristol director Marty Reid added that inclusive and sustainable growth was more vital than ever in the current climate.

“Our ambition is to work towards levelling the playing field for minoritised groups within the tech sector by improving access to support, investment and networks. We look forward to welcoming new awardees with exciting ideas to our community,” he said.

“Since SETsquared Bristol launched the Breakthrough Bursary in 2019, companies at the incubator with founders from a minority ethnic background have increased from 14% to 24%. This compares favourably to the UK average where less than 9% of senior tech leaders are from a minority ethnic background.”

Any UK-based entrepreneur from a minority ethnic background can apply for the Breakthrough Bursary if they are developing a tech start-up or growing an existing company.

Women entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply as a particularly underrepresented group in the industry.

The bursary covers 75% of SETsquared Bristol’s startup membership fee for a year, at a cost of £43.12 plus VAT per month.

Applications are open until 7 November. For more information click here

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