Ethical Equity, the UK’s first dedicated impact investment platform, has officially launched in Birmingham to help underserved founders unlock £500,000 in Angel Investment. Through its Aspiring Angels initiative, Ethical Equity hopes to recruit 1,000 new angel investors from diverse backgrounds, to improve the landscape for start-up founders looking to grow.

The platform was founded by Ali Kazmi, originally from Aston, to democratise the investment landscape and improve access for underserved communities. The latest report by Extend Ventures, the non-profit research and finance platform, revealed that between 2013 and 2023, minority ethnic entrepreneurs received just 9.25% of the total £135 billion invested into UK start-ups.

“Our Aspiring Angels initiative is a rallying cry for change, a call-to-action to address the stark reality that underserved founders face in accessing financial support. As we launch in Birmingham, our mission echoes loud and clear: to break down the barriers that hinder the dreams of talented entrepreneurs that are being continually overlooked.

“Angel Investment is still seen by many as an elite form of funding – millionaires investing into tech companies, rather than real people investing in their local communities. We are bringing together people who have as little as £500 and training them up over the next 6-12 months, with a view to creating 1,000 new angel investors and a pot of half a million that can be invested back into businesses of their choosing. To change the way that funding is distributed, we have to empower communities to support themselves,” comments Ali.

The launch of Ethical Equity comes at a poignant time, as the start-up community rallies against the impact of Government’s recent move to increase the financial thresholds of angel investors. Prior to 31 January, anyone in the UK earning more than £100,000 or with net assets of £250,000 was exempt from restrictions on financial promotions. This changed at the start of this month, with the Financial Promotions Order (FPO) increasing thresholds to £170,000 and £430,000 respectively.

“These changes are going to impact all early-stage start-ups, but worse than that, we’re going to see underserved communities – such as women and ethnic minority founders – impacted the most. This move by the Government, yet again, makes early-stage investment for the elite. This is why we’re here working hard to change that landscape,” Ali continues.

Ethical Equity was one of the first ventures to embark on the West Midlands-based SuperTech Seeds pre-accelerator, which takes early-stage start-ups from idea generation to prototype. Now the organisation, which is based in Bristol, is looking at UK expansion and rollout its AI Simulator, a world-first for the angel investment space.

Through the platform, aspiring investors can ‘learn on the job’, creating a mock investment account with a digital wallet to practice private market investments without any risk. Real-life investment opportunities are simulated, giving aspiring angels the chance to see how deals are presented in real-life, practice their decision-making and due diligence skills, and grow their online portfolio.

Ethical Equity’s Birmingham launch took place at Natwest’s Accelerator Hub in Birmingham. The Accelerator programme supports and empowers UK entrepreneurs to scale their businesses to the next level. With 13 nationwide hubs providing one to one coaching, thought leadership events and access to a network of like-minded peers. Sharniya Ferdinand, Enterprise Community Strategy Director, added:

“We are delighted to have supported the Birmingham launch of Ethical Equity’s Aspiring Angels initiative. Breaking down barriers to finance is a key focus from the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship’s (CREME) Time to Change report, which we use to inform our strategy for supporting and engaging with ethnic minority businesses (EMBs). Ethical Equity’s mission to improve the landscape for diverse founders looking to grow aligns closely to our own ambition and we are so excited to see this network grow and for more support to be available for diverse founders.”

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