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Sainsbury’s invests £1M to support black-led businesses ‘from start-up to supermarket shelves’

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2 min read
AUTHOR: Molly Long
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Sainsbury’s has launched a new 16-week incubator programme aimed at helping black-led food and drink companies develop.

The UK supermarket has invested £1 million into its new Thrive with Sainsbury’s initiative, which will be free to participants.

Created and delivered in partnership with Foundervine and MissionVentures, the opportunity is open to food and drink companies looking to grow which are currently facing barriers.

Sainsbury’s says these barriers could be anything from inadequate funding to lack of social capital or limited industry knowledge.

While these are problems faced by most fledgling food businesses, the supermarket explains these challenges are often felt even more acutely by black and ethnic minority founders and their companies.

Nine successful applicants to the programme will receive a so-called ‘welcome grant’ worth £20,000. Additionally, they will receive more than 150 hours of 1:1 support from industry experts and group learning opportunities.

There will be additional funding available at later stages of the process, up to the value of £105,000 per brand, the supermarket has confirmed.

The most successful five will also land a listing with Sainsbury’s. These products will hit the shelves by 2023.

Silika Shellie-Manso, Director of Grocery Innovation at Sainsbury’s, said: “As an inclusive retailer, we believe that to offer great food and drink for everyone, it should be made by everyone.

“We know that despite the strength of ideas and potential amongst Black founders, often opportunities and success can be hindered by ethnicity, which is we are starting with this group of the most underrepresented founders first.”

Sainsbury’s opportunity is open to anyone of black ethnicity or heritage, provided they have a new product that is geared to Sainsbury’s customers.

The programme for each successful applicant will be tailored to their ambitions and product.

Applications for Thrive with Sainsbury’s will remain open until 16 August 2022, with the accelerator starting on 30 August 2022. Interested parties can apply via the Foundervine website.  


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