The Ubele Initiative to be latest partner in Access-funded resilience programme

05 May 2021 News

Charities serving black and ethnic minority communities will be able to apply for grants and support from an expanded programme that aims to build resilience in organisations. 

The Ubele Initiative, which is led by social entrepreneurs with roots in the African diaspora, is joining Social Investment Business' £12.5m Enterprise Development Programme (EDP) next month.

The EDP was founded in 2018, and provides grants and other support to charities and social enterprises looking to increase their income from trading. The Ubele Initiative will become the Black and Minoritised Communities Sector Partner in the EDP.

Building wealth

EDP is funded by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, and is managed by Social Investment Business. It aims to spend £12.5m over its five-year programme.

A spokesperson said that £2m had been set aside for the work being led by The Ubele Initiative. Charities and social enterprises can apply to join a group of organisations looking for support developing their trading plans, with grant finance and other support released “when and where it is needed” as the work progresses.

Grants are typically worth up to £30,000. 

The Ubele Initiative will join the programme’s existing partners: Equally Ours, Homeless Link, The Association of Mental Health Providers, and The Centre for Youth Impact.

The Ubele Initiative said in a statement that the partnership will allow it to support community wealth building within black and ethnic minority communities, one of its main strategic goals.

Ubele: Partnership will ‘meet an urgent need’

Seb Elsworth, the chief executive of Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, said that charities’ ability to develop enterprise into their work is “a key way to build resilience”.

The partnership with The Ubele Initiative was a chance to “directly support dozens of organisations and to help strengthen the vital infrastructure for the sector in the longer term”, he added.

Yvonne Field, the founder and director of The Ubele Initiative, said: “The Black and Minoritised Communities Enterprise Development Programme (BMEDP) is a necessary response to an urgent need for longer term strategic enterprise-led interventions to the black and minoritised VCSE sector.
“We are pleased to strengthen our partnership with Access and Social Investment Business through BMEDP, and use the programme to support the creation of the first ever National Strategic Alliance to support community wealth building within black and minoritised communities.”

Deborah Smart, director of grants at Social Investment Business, said: “We know that Covid-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities between and within communities across the UK, particularly for black and minoritised communities.”


Earlier this year, Henry Baptiste, the director of Pathways Housing Solutions, warned that black and ethnic minority social entrepreneurs face “clear structural barriers” to accessing finance.

EDP has supported more than 80 organisations since January 2020.

Applications for support for black and ethnic minority groups will open on 1 June.

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