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Allen & Overy supports Black Founders Fund to boost diversity and inclusion in tech

Allen & Overy (A&O), a leading global law firm, has confirmed its continued partnership with Google for Startups’ Black Founders Fund, a £3.3 million (USD4mn) initiative to provide financial support and mentorship to Black-led startups in Europe.

With a focus on companies who are harnessing technology to pioneer solutions to the world’s challenges, the Black Founders Fund aims to address the funding gap and systemic barriers that Black entrepreneurs face in accessing capital, networks and resources to grow their businesses. Only 0.25% of VC funding went to Black founders prior to the fund’s launch in 2021.

The partnership is now entering its third year as applications open for a new round of funds and business support.

Over the past two years, A&O has provided pro bono legal advice and training to 46 UK-based startups, covering topics such as corporate governance, intellectual property, data regulation, and fundraising. As part of the Fund, it runs an annual legal seminar series as well as free legal surgeries for the startups. The firm also leverages its global network and expertise to connect the startups with potential investors, clients and partners.

Will Samengo-Turner, partner and co-head of Allen & Overy's EMEA technology practice, said:

We are delighted to be part of this important and innovative initiative, which aligns with our commitment to diversity and inclusion and our passion for supporting the tech ecosystem. We believe that the Black Founders Fund will not only help the participating startups to scale and succeed, but also inspire and empower more Black entrepreneurs to pursue their ambitions and create positive social impact.

Mariama Boumanjal, Google for Startups Black Founders Fund Manager for Europe and Africa said: “The UK has long been a hub for incredible innovation, but research shows that Black-led startups have been disproportionately locked out of access to capital. Supporting Black-led startups is more important now than ever: enabling more brilliant Black founders could help to create more jobs, investment and innovation, helping the UK to achieve its ambition of becoming a tech and science superpower. That’s why we’re opening the fund for a third year to ensure underrepresented founders continue to get the investment and broader support needed to make their startups a success.”