The Inclusive Entrepreneurship Group is a partnership of entrepreneurs and business support organisations who are committed to supporting local business founders. It includes representatives from AwakenHub, British Business Bank, Bubble Bum, Diversity Mark NI, Raise Ventures, Startacus, Ulster Bank, Ulster University & Women in Business NI.
In October 2020 British Business Bank, published ‘Alone Together: Entrepreneurship and Diversity in the UK’. The Report examined the profound effects which ethnic and economic background, gender and place have on entrepreneurial opportunities and outcomes.
As a result of the report's findings and with a desire to drive tangible change, a voluntary working group of stakeholders from across the NI entrepreneurial and business support network came together, to focus on identifying and addressing the challenges & obstacles faced by NI-based entrepreneurs.
A survey was then designed, primarily aimed at improving our understanding of potential barriers in relation to five key areas – gender, ethnicity, disability, socio-economically disadvantaged & neurodiversity - and to help improve and shape the NI entrepreneurial and startup space, so that it functions more effectively for a more inclusive and diverse community. The survey ran in 2022 and was subsequently independently analysed by the UUEPC in a voluntary capacity.
The survey showed that finance issues such as access to finance and investments were the biggest challenge for females with more than one quarter identifying finance as their biggest challenge. This lead to 4 partners in the group developing a series of short online webinars, accessible to all.