Supporting ethnic minority founders with Colorintech.

May 1, 2023

At Forward, we believe that diverse perspectives are the key to innovation, growth and our continued success as a business. That’s why we’re dedicated to ensuring that our deal flow pipeline is reflective of wider society as a whole. 

As part of our ongoing efforts to increase gender equality and ethnic diversity in our deal flow pipeline, in 2022, we continued our partnership with Colorintech for a second year. Throughout the year, we were able to support Colorintech with more of their programmes through mentoring, education and offering their cohorts of founders access to our investors via dedicated Office Hours programmes. 

What is Colorintech?

Colorintech was established in 2016 with the conviction that a technology industry that prioritises inclusivity benefits not only products, innovation, and employees, but also contributes to greater wealth distribution and reduced inequality in opportunities over time.

Feeling frustrated with being one of a few black individuals in tech, Silicon Valley tech executive Dion McKenzie and ex-Googler Ashleigh Ainsley teamed up to create a nonprofit that would help to increase the number of ethnic minorities entering the UK tech workforce and inspire thousands of past and future leaders join the movement.

Since then, Colorintech has been focused on one mission - to make Europe the most inclusive tech hub in the world. They do this by building programs that create access to some of the world’s most innovative companies for ethnic minorities and supporting early-stage underrepresented entrepreneurs. 

What programmes does Colorintech run?

Colorintech offers a variety of programmes for entrepreneurs at various stages in their startup journey. Last year, Forward was a proud partner of many of their initiatives over 2022.

  • Rise is their early-stage accelerator. Designed to accelerate their ideas, learn best practices, and gain access to a community of fellow founders, investors, and industry experts. Forward delivered two cohort sessions during the 2022 programme. 
  • Black Tech Fest is their flagship conference, which took place over three days in London in October 2022. This in-person and online experience brings together industry leaders, creators, and change-makers to provide access and opportunities for Black talent within the tech industry. Forward contributed to panel discussions as part of the in-person conference and supported Colorintech by promoting the event to our community in the months leading up to the event.

Building Traction Club.

Forward also worked closely with Colorintech to develop their second 5-week accelerator programme, Traction Club. This initiative was curated on the understanding that underrepresented founders who can show strong early-stage traction, can prove to potential investors that they have a great business. Aimed at entrepreneurs building in the B2B space, the programme focussed on effective strategies and tactics to secure their first paying customers. Forward worked closely with Colorintech to design the initial accelerator, facilitated sessions during the course and also supported the Colorintech team with finding B2B sales industry experts to deliver sessions throughout the programme. Local Globe, another VC firm also participated in the programme. 

A first customer is a huge moment for a founder. It’s not the money , it’s proof that you might have something great. A positive signal to early-stage investors. And a big leap in a startup team’s mindset towards scale. We were really excited to work with ColorInTech on Traction Cub, and the group of high-potential, early-stage and under-represented founders to do just that. Jared Ruddy, Head of Growth and Marketing at Forward Partners.

Looking ahead to 2023. 

This year, Forward aims to expand its reach into under-served communities, working with teams like Colorintech to develop programmes and providing strategic support as they expand their curriculums and reach more underrepresented founders. We hope to meet many more accelerator participants and continue the promising investment discussions from their network. 

Forward Partners was a critical and valued partner for Colorintech throughout 2022. From helping us ideate and develop our Traction Club concept, connecting our cohorts with their investment teams for mentoring, to more broad support across our other programmes, events and content, they were a huge support to me and the whole Colorintech team. We’re excited to build on our partnership with Forward in 2023. Ashleigh Ansleigh - Founder of Colorintech

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May 1, 2023