Uber Eats launches £250k Black Business Fund for third year
£250,000 of grant funding will be awarded to Black-owned restaurants across the UK as the Uber Eats Black Business Fund is launched for the third year.
To date, businesses have received a total of £300,000 of grants since the award scheme started in 2021, with this year’s funding taking the total amount awarded past half a million pounds.
In collaboration with Enterprise Nation, the Uber Eats Black Business Fund will award cash grants to twenty-five small Black-owned businesses with at least half going 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 Thursday.
Rachel Olatoke, who runs Harvest Afro Caribbean in Windsor, is a previous winner of a Black Business Fund grant. She said: “I started my restaurant almost as a form of activism – there isn’t much diversity in Windsor so during lockdown we decided to change that and bring African and Caribbean cuisine to the high street.
“We’re a fusion restaurant so we have two signature dishes, Jerk Chicken on the Caribbean side and Egusi on the African side. We used cash from the Black Business Fund to upgrade our equipment and expand our buffet service – we’re really excited for the future and are always thinking about what the next thing could be.
“I’d definitely recommend other restaurants to apply for the fund.”
According to government data, just 6% of small and medium enterprises (SME) are ethnic minority-led. And Black business owners face particular barriers with accessing finance, with only three in ten approaching banks for finance, according to Lloyds Bank.
Furthermore, according to the 2023 Inside Hospitality Report – published by Be Inclusive Hospitality – Black hospitality workers are most likely to be on zero-hour contracts compared to other ethnic groups.
Emma Jones, CBE, Founder and CEO of Enterprise Nation, said: “This fund plays a massively important role in highlighting the amazing work black food entrepreneurs are doing as well as enabling them to see themselves and their incredible food reflected on our high streets and street food events.
“By delivering funding and targeted business support, the Uber Eats Black Business Fund is helping to drive this vibrant and evolving hospitality sector to create the successful food entrepreneurs and role models of the future.”
Matthew Price, General Manager at Uber Eats UK & Ireland, said: “We are extremely excited to launch the Black Business Fund for a third successive year, which will see the programme deliver over half a million pounds to Black-owned businesses since it began.
“Previous grant winners have used the cash for a range of vital investments – from upgrading equipment to training new staff. We’re proud to continue supporting the next generation of Black entrepreneurs to take their businesses to the next level.”
In the UK, Uber Eats first launched the Black Business Fund in 2021, awarding ten £5,000 grants to restaurants across the country. Last year it increased its support by five times to a total £250,000 grant pot.