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UBS Commits $3m to Black Innovation Alliance

Staff writer
Feb. 27, 2023, 11:27 a.m.
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UBS has announced a three-year, $3m commitment to Black Innovation Alliance (BIA) to help build a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem that equips Black founders with access to resources and support to build high-growth businesses.

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UBS has announced a three-year, $3m commitment to Black Innovation Alliance (BIA) to help build a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem that equips Black founders with access to resources and support to build high-growth businesses.

As the signature partner, UBS’s investment will directly support BIA’s Decade of Black Innovation, an initiative to empower one million Black entrepreneurs and innovators, and drive $1bn to the Black entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The partnership is designed to support the growth and development of BIA’s membership base, which will include launching a digital laboratory with resources for founders, hosting training summits for members, providing funding to help develop new, innovative ideas from BIA’s community, and offering mentorship opportunities with UBS employees and clients.

“Equitable access to capital, resources and knowledge is critical in order to achieve a better, more inclusive world,” said Naureen Hassan, President of UBS Americas. “We believe in the power of partnership to elevate traditionally underrepresented populations, and we’re proud to work with BIA to strengthen their ecosystem to help Black entrepreneurs thrive and grow successful businesses.”

BIA, a coalition of 90 Black-led innovator support organizations (ISOs) that collectively support 375,000 entrepreneurs of color, is committed to closing the racial wealth gap by supporting the growth and development of ISOs, developing content and engaging media to change the narrative around Black entrepreneurship, advancing a policy agenda to unlock resources for founders, and publishing research on the state of Black innovation.

“UBS’s investment will serve as a catalyst towards a different reality for Black entrepreneurs, starting with valuing the work of our existing Black ISOs,” said Kelly Burton, Co-Founder and CEO of BIA. “These leaders not only know what it means to be entrepreneurial, they know how systemic racism and lack of diversity impacts wealth creation. Black founders and innovators need safe spaces to grow, build, even fail, but that doesn’t happen without support - the more Black ISOs we support, the more Black entrepreneurs succeed. We’re creating an environment where that can happen, and we are honored to have UBS’s support and allyship.”

While funding in support of Black entrepreneurship rose after the murder of George Floyd, significant, long-term investments are needed to sustain momentum for Black founders to realize the promise of entrepreneurship as a pathway to ownership, asset building and generational wealth creation. According to a recent McKinsey study, investing in more business ecosystems that provide Black business owners equitable access to resources and opportunities can unlock part of the $1trn to $1.5trn in annual GDP that would come from closing the racial wealth gap.

“For more than a decade, we’ve been investing to make entrepreneurship more inclusive because we believe that it is a pathway to ownership and generational wealth building, leading to lasting change in communities,” said Jamie Sears, Head of Community Impact & Corporate Responsibility, Americas at UBS. “BIA’s role as a connector for the Black entrepreneurial ecosystem alongside their bold, holistic vision for approaching issues of equity sets them apart. BIA member organizations and the entrepreneurs they serve have tremendous talent, but the funding and opportunities flowing to them nowhere near matches their potential. The aim of UBS’s signature partnership is to help BIA build the infrastructure of support needed so that Black founders can succeed for years to come.”

UBS first partnered with BIA in 2021, where the firm served as an inaugural funder of Resource, a nationwide initiative developed by BIA and Village Capital to strengthen the systems that support underrepresented founders.

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