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30 June 2023

Entrepreneurship programme supports emerging social businesses

Entrepreneurship programme supports emerging social businesses Image

Discover Develop Design Deliver is a unique partnership between ArtsEkta and JoinHer that aims to address the challenges faced by underrepresented entrepreneurs, particularly women from Global Majority backgrounds.

With funding provided by Ulster Bank’s Enterprise Fund, the programme is pioneered by two of the most influential voices on Ethnic Minority Communities in NI;  Nisha Tandon OBE Social Entrepreneur, and founder & director of ArtsEkta, one of Ireland’s leading cultural diversity charities and Lori Gatsi-Barnett, founder and director of JoinHer Network Belfast, an internationally diverse group of women whose main scope of work is to change women’s lives for the better.

As experts who are actively involved in entrepreneurship, both organisations share a common goal: to support underrepresented entrepreneurs by helping them overcome the barriers that they face during their startup journey and beyond. Jointly their objective is to help bridge the skills gap, which will lead to an increase in diverse community startups and growth for pre-existing businesses.

The programme has recruited 14 participants and is providing tailored workshops and mentoring in areas such as confidence building, communication, business planning, applying for financial support, and growth strategies to support their individual business journey.

Participants have benefited for a right of insights and lived experience from mentors such as Sarah Hoppe, founder of Sew Ready and Karishma Kusurkar, who runs a multi-disciplinary design studio. They have also heard from some of the top advisors from social enterprises across the UK, including Stephen McGarry from WorkWest Enterprise Agency and Ella Camille from the Social Enterprise Academy in Scotland.

With this support and knowledge the participants have been formulating new ideas which has led to seven new emerging business models including a community farm, an Arabic language school, creative design and interpretation services.

John Ferris, regional ecosystem manager with Ulster Bank commented on the programme

“To date the enterprise fund has supported around 1,600 individuals or businesses through targeted programmes with our partners and we’re proud of the work done to date in reaching underrepresented entrepreneurs including women and those from ethnic minority backgrounds”.

“Our goal is to continue to be a champion for diverse entrepreneurship and we hope that by working in close collaboration with our three new partners we can deliver more opportunities for entrepreneurs, create jobs and drive for further investment. We are excited to work with ArtsEkta & JoinHer Network during the next 12 months and look forward to seeing the positive impact this work can make.”


Principal Funders