Create Equity has launched its first edition of a new fund: an 18-month capacity building fund for Black and Asian organisations.

The Capacity Building Fund:

  • Provides grants, up to £70k
  • Delivers Project Support Office services in areas such as finance, marketing, project management
  • Offers consultancy in areas such as business, financial planning and governance

Working in partnership with MeWe360 as delivery partner, the fund has sought out high potential Black and Asian-led organisations that can receive genuine value add within an 18 month programme. 

Funded by The Connect Fund, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Social Investment Business, the programme’s objective is to build capacity for organisations to scale and access further investment and/or grants later down the line.

The following exciting Black and Asian-led organisations have successfully been selected to join the programme with development plans for the next 18 months in the making.

Akademi South Asian Dance presents outstanding artistic experiences that are driven by societal, environmental and scientific issues that are relevant and resonant today. Through the power and technique of South Asian dance, they enhance health, joy and well-being for participants in community, hospital & education settings. They nurture the future generations of South Asian dance and seek to amplify the appreciation of and access to South Asian dance nationally & internationally.

Black South West Network is a Black-led racial justice organisation based in Bristol that supports the development of dynamic, independent, and strong Black and Minoritised communities, businesses, and organisations whilst challenging systemic barriers. They drive racial equity in the UK utilising robust research, lived experiences and innate knowledge to influence decision-making to increase their economic and social capital. Their Cultural Heritage Programme aims to establish a physical and digital (Un)Museum of Black Culture and Heritage leading to the development of a dedicated space within the Coach House.

Chineke! Foundation champions change and celebrates diversity in classical music. Created in 2015 to provide outstanding career opportunities to established and up-and-coming Black and ethnically diverse classical musicians in the UK and Europe, the organisation aims to be a catalyst for change, realising existing diversity targets within the industry by increasing the representation of Black and ethnically diverse musicians in British and European orchestras.  

Culture Squared CIC is the producer of Bradford Literature Festival (BLF), the largest literature festival in the North of England and the second largest literature festival in the UK – gaining recognition as the most culturally diverse literature festival in the UK. Founded in 2014, BLF has grown to become a 10-day annual festival with over 550 events taking place in late June to early July, plus a year-round cultural outreach programme encompassing the best of literature, music, theatre, cultural discussions, lectures and family events. 

Jazz re:freshed is a small but relentlessly determined Black-led organisation and forms a cultural and global movement. Their mission is to support, develop and promote young, diverse and female band-leading emerging artists, and bands across multiple platforms. They do this through weekly live events, an annual festival, an artist development programme, digital and international platforms as well as an award-winning not for profit record label.

Lives Not Knives is an innovative, award winning, youth-led charity that works to prevent knife crime, serious youth violence and school exclusions by engaging, educating and empowering disadvantaged young people and supporting them to enjoy their lives and improve their future prospects. Their unique strategy centres around 121 mentoring, educational school roadshows, an after school club & a free summer programme of activities so that young people can overcome adversity and transform their lives.

Rich Mix was established in 2001, to support marginalised communities in East London to come together, promoting community cohesion across the city through the arts and culture. They are an independent charity and today their mission is to welcome the communities of the world in East London to create, enjoy and share culture. They continue to create culture by, for, and with people from ethnically diverse backgrounds via a varied programme of live performance, cinema and community engagement.

Debra Healy, CEO of Create Equity shares:

Create Equity is passionate about improving the funding landscape for Black and Asian organisations and their leaders who are too often serving their own communities by filling essential cultural experiential gaps in local and national services. We are incredibly impressed by the calibre of the selected organisations and look forward to supporting them on their journey to increase their organisational capacity and extend their audience reach to the next level.”

On behalf of MeWe360, CEO Louise Nkosi says:

“MeWe360’s work centres on championing Black and Asian leadership and enterprise in the arts and creative industries. We are proud to be a delivery partner on Create Equity’s Capacity Building Programme and to be working with the exciting and important organisations that are participating on the programme. We look forward to supporting these organisations to achieve their ambitions to scale and reach their next key milestone.”

Kevin Osborne, Executive Chair of Create Equity and MeWe360 states:

“Historical underfunding of Black and Brown-led organisations has had multiple impacts; sub-scale organisations that don’t fulfil their potential or meet the founders’ aspirations, Black and Brown leaders and teams who are underpaid, burn out, and a less vibrant and resilient sector. Reversing these impacts will take at least a generation. Our programme is a start, providing much needed investment and support to put Black and Brown-led organisations on a pathway to long-term growth and sustainability. We will also capture valuable learnings on how best to deliver this kind of service, and we are excited to be at the forefront of this challenging but necessary work.”

The Capacity Building Fund is the first programme of its kind under this new partnership. It aims to be a recurring programme and welcomes interest from both future potential participating organisations and supporters interested in partnership opportunities.

Create Equity’s social mission is to make investment in the arts, social enterprise and commercial industries racially equitable. They devise, design and deliver projects and carry out research to address market failures in grant funding, and impact capital. These activities include: creating funding opportunities, advocacy and knowledge sharing, and consultancy.

MeWe360 is a Black-led not for profit that champions Black & Asian leadership & entrepreneurial talent in the arts and creative industries. They develop entrepreneurial talent through an Incubator programme, deliver funding opportunities by partnering with organisations, and provide a space to hold constructive dialogue about issues of BAME representation in the arts and creative industries.