The free three-month music accelerator programme is being launched by Wray & Nephew to support Black music business owners and connect them with top industry experts..

The music accelerator programme for 20 entrepreneurs, launched by Jamaican rum brand Wray & Nephew, helps Black music business owners increase visibility, scale up their business, and pitch their business idea to investors 

Black women aiming to make it in the UK music business are being offered a unique opportunity to get support from top industry experts, as part of the 2023 Wray Forward Music Accelerator programme, which is now open for applications.

The free three-month music accelerator programme for 20 entrepreneurs, has been launched by iconic Jamaican rum brand Wray & Nephew, to help Black music business owners increase visibility, scale up their business, and pitch their business idea to investors.

This year, although the Wray Forward Music Accelerator is once again open for applicants of all genders, Wray & Nephew is calling for more female applicants. 

Though the programme was popular in 2022, its inaugural year, only a quarter of applicants (27%) were women. 

A 2021 music industry report into the representation of women in the boardroom in the UK’s music trade bodies, found that only 6% of board members were Black women, despite the fact that the number of female board members rose from 34% to 42% between 2020/21*.

In addition, while 27% of both CEOs and chairpersons across eleven major music trade boards were women, none of these were Black*. In 2022, the number of Black women chairpersons across these organisations had increased to two**(18%).

One of last year’s participants, Namywa Hutchinson, is a music artist and founder of Girl Grind UK, an organisation which runs programmes to create greater visibility and equality for women of colour, girls, and gender-expanding people in the arts, health, and business. 

She said: “From the very first session I attended, I thought the Wray Forward Music Accelerator programme had really done the work as far as recruiting mentors. They had key industry people that I’d been trying to get in contact with, and I was able to ask so many useful questions. I also got two incredible personal mentors in Felix Howard from BMG Records and Sara Lord from Concord Publishing.

“The music accelerator gave me a more commercial mentality and the knowledge of who to approach and how to pitch to major brands for investment and support, for both Girl Grind UK and myself as an artist. It would be great to see more women apply for this year’s programme and I’d definitely recommend it.”

As we head into Black History Month, the Wray Forward Music Accelerator is looking for 20 Black business founders, currently operating in the music industry, who are:

·       Aged 25 years or over

·       Ready to scale i.e.:

  • Either seed stage or beyond
  • Received investment
  • Launching your MVP 

·       A UK-registered business

·       From the following sectors:

  • Media (magazine, radio, music tech), 
  • Publishing/Labels (music publishing, distribution, small independent labels), 
  • Creative Agencies (booking agents, artists managers, creative studios etc.) 
  • Live Events (pop-ups, festivals, promoters)

·       Are available to attend all the masterclasses over the three-month period

Marina Santos, Marketing Director UK, Campari Group, said: “Music has played a key part in our story, so we are very excited to be launching our second year of the Wray Forward Music Accelerator.

“Wray & Nephew is proud to champion Black-british creativity and businesses, and it was fantastic to receive applications from so many talented individuals in 2022. We do know that Black women were underrepresented, though our final 20 did contain some very talented female entrepreneurs. So, we want to change that this year, and while the programme is still open to all genders, we do hope that more Black women in all areas of the music industry will be keen to apply.”

To find out more about how to apply to the Wray Forward programme, Black music business owners and entrepreneurs can head to https://www.straightfromyard.co.uk/wray-forward/

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