The women of colour Breakthrough programme – Financial Readiness

WoC FInancial readiness

Supporting women of colour in business

We know that women of colour face additional challenges in business, and we’re committed to supporting female entrepreneurship by improving women’s access to the advice, resources and finance options needed to start and grow a business. 

That’s why we partnered with PRECIOUS – a digital platform, network and resource for women of colour led by Foluke Akinlose MBE – to research the challenges and achievements of female entrepreneurship and women business leaders from underrepresented groups.

You can read more about the outcomes of the research and our commitments to addressing the findings in our Supporting women of colour in business article.

About the women of colour Breakthrough programme – Financial Readiness

Financial Readiness is a business support programme for UK-based SMEs founded and/or led by women of colour. It’s fully funded by Santander and delivered in partnership with UpSkill Digital.  

This research and our steering group of wonderful female business owners of colour have helped us to develop a full programme of support centred around the following topics:

  • Access to finance can make a big difference to a business’s potential growth. We know this a particular problem for women of colour due to the difficulty in applying for finance and poor treatment by financial institutions. This means that external finance is often not even seen as an option.  We want to help build your knowledge and confidence in looking for, applying for, and managing business finance.
  • Financial education from early on in life has an impact on how individuals approach business decisions and assess financial risk. We know many women of colour don’t benefit from access to generational wealth and may not have a family history of investing and entrepreneurship. We want to demystify the language used around finance and give you the confidence to discuss business finance more openly.
  • Support at key life and business stages is key to overcoming challenges. Our female business owners told us that support for businesses is often targeted for start-ups and/or focussed on people under 30, so it wasn’t available when they needed it most. That’s why we designed this course for women who are already trading and are ready to take the next step.
  • Relatable role models and a network of trusted peers can be essential in giving you the confidence to make ambitious choices.  During the course you’ll be able to connect with women like you and hear the personal stories of other women’s experiences of business finance. 

Who is the programme for?

This is for women of colour who have founded, or are currently leading, a small or medium sized enterprise in the UK. Ideally you will be looking for further support to scale your business. 

As the content of the programme is very focused on finance, businesses with a need for funding now or in the near future are likely to benefit most from the sessions. 

Registrations for the current programme are now closed, if you would like to register your interest for future programmes, please use the link below:

Who is the programme for

What does the programme cover?

The programme consists of four digital sessions. 

  • Grow your finances. In this session we’ll explore the funding landscape and take you through the key financial skills to help your business thrive. You’ll also have an opportunity to network virtually with other delegates and join our fireside chat where you’ll hear from business owners like you and their experiences of business finance.
  • Panel discussion. In this session we’ll build on the finance conversation to really understand how you can use the right finance at the right time.
  • Demystifying business borrowing and managing its benefits. In this session we’ll dig deeper into the role of borrowing in growing your business, and best practice when it comes to applying for funding for your business. Again, you’ll have a chance to connect with other delegates before joining our second fireside chat.
  • Panel discussion. In this final session we’ll explore the role of business debt, its various purposes for a business and how it can inform your business plan and growth aspirations. 

What do we expect?

As with many online events and workshops you’ll be encouraged to participate throughout the sessions, through virtual chat, feedback, submitting questions and connecting with other delegates. So please be prepared for the sessions to be interactive! We would also ask that, by applying for the programme, you commit to joining all the sessions listed.

Who can apply?

We have 60 places available on our pilot programme, and to apply for one of those places you need to:

  • Have a business registered in and trading from the UK.
  • Have a minimum of 6 months trading history with an ambition to scale over the next 6-18 months.  
  • Be the founder/co-founder or senior leader of your business. 
  • Identify as a woman of colour.

Please note – you don’t have to be a Santander customer to apply for this programme. 

Register your interest

Registrations for the current programme are now closed, if you would like to register your interest for future programmes, please use the link below:

Apply for your place

How else can you get involved?

We’re running some open sessions as part of the programme where you’ll hear from women of colour and their direct experiences of accessing and using funding and finance. If you would like to attend any of the sessions, please visit our events page for more information and registration.

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