Wray & Nephew, in partnership with Foundervine, has launched the third year of its Wray Forward programme.

In collaboration with Foundervine, one of the largest and most active accelerator ecosystems in the UK, Wray Forward is an ambitious, free programme that supports Black founders across the UK by giving them access to mentorship opportunities, educational workshops and networking events. 

Research conducted by Wray & Nephew has found that almost seven in ten (68%) Black entrepreneurs revealed there are not enough business tools and resources available to Black entrepreneurs, and three-quarters (76%) state they would have found business success much quicker if these tools had been accessible. Recognising the need for change, the Wray Forward initiative was launched in December 2021 to break down these barriers. 

Over the past two years, the Wray Forward programme has supported over 3,800 entrepreneurs, provided 48 hours of free learning and represented over 23 industries. All with an aim of creating a  system that encourages participants to come back to the programme each year, regardless of the stage of their business growth. 

In its third year, the Wray Forward programme is focusing on celebrating its community. By creating a supportive environment where Black founders can connect, collaborate and celebrate each other’s successes through a culture of resilience and solidarity. 

One in five (20%) of Black business owners have struggled to raise funds, and as a result, Wray Forward has made its primary objective of 2024 to increase access to funding for Black founders. By connecting entrepreneurs with investors who believe in their vision and potential, the aim is to level the playing field and drive economic empowerment for underserved communities. 

Izzy Obeng, Co-Founder of Foundervine, said: “Black founders face numerous limitations, including restricted access to capital, networks and opportunities. In 2024, we’re aiming to help more Black founders and entrepreneurs by breaking down these barriers and providing tailored support and resources. We’re delighted to be working with Wray & Nephew to equip Black founders with the tools and knowledge needed to navigate the entrepreneurial landscape successfully.”

In addition to the free-to-access expert-led workshops, the programme has added new offerings fo Black business owners, including:

  • Roundtable: An in-depth roundtable discussion covering a range of challenges in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and creating actionable solutions to be shared with a wider audience. 
  • Founder Growth Circle: A private leadership community for growth-stage founders that builds a ‘personal board of advisors’ around participants. Amongst a trusted set of peers, founders will be provided with insights, ideas, support and answers. There will be four different Founder Growth Circle’s tailormade to serve four key sectors: Hair, Beauty & Wellness, Tech, FMCG and Creative Industries.
  • Networking Events: Gatherings where entrepreneurs can come together to connect, showcase their businesses and network with industry professionals. 
  • Pitch Nights: Within four different sessions, six remarkable founders will be selected and have the opportunity to pitch their inspiring ideas and growing businesses. Selected winners will have the chance to secure a prize of £3,000, £1,500 and £500. 
  • Wray Forward 25 List: Wray & Nephew’s list of successful growing Black-owned businesses and the entrepreneurs behind them.

The programme is now live and available for Black business owners and entrepreneurs to register their interest. Head to https://www.foundervine.com/wray-forward to learn more. 

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