Comcast-backed pay-TV operator Sky is setting out to support more Black-owned and led businesses in the U.K. through a £1 million ($1.3 million) fund, with plans to grow diversity in Sky’s supply chain in the future.
The initiative is targeted specifically at Black entrepreneurs and is in addition to the £30 million that was earmarked over three years in June 2020 to improve Black and minority ethnic representation at all levels within Sky and elsewhere.
The new allocation of funds will support Black business founders by delivering practical solutions to succeed, including a combination of business advice, mentoring and financial support; and creating the opportunity to access Sky’s own supply chain.
As part of a Variety investigation into diversity in the U.K. production sector, Sky said last month that it doesn’t track the ownership diversity of its production partners, “but is investigating how this can be done so we can track going forward.” With the latest fund, it appears the company hopes to take a closer look at its production pipeline.
“We believe we have an opportunity to stand against racial injustice, and to tackle the barriers to success faced by Black people in the U.K.,” said Dana Strong, CEO of Sky. “This new fund will help Black entrepreneurs to succeed and to drive economic prosperity, which is at the heart of equity.”
The program’s delivery partner and recipient of the enterprise initiative will be announced early next year. The group will work with Sky to address the “unique barriers Black entrepreneurs face when starting their business.” In addition, the fund aims to create “scalable models” for supporting Black founders in British business which will be published and shared.
Sky says its long-term aim is to incorporate these diverse-owned businesses into its own supply chain.
In January 2021, Sky set ambitious targets to increase ethnic diversity and representation across its U.K. workforce. By 2025, Sky aims for 20% of its employees in the U.K. and Ireland to be from Black, Asian, or ethnically diverse backgrounds, with at least a quarter of these being Black. This target also applies to Sky’s leadership team.
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