A New Model for Funding Underrepresented Innovation – Eric Collins



New Models is a lecture series that invites practitioners from different disciplines to discuss how their work can change the models around which society is organised. These conversations will address how we can shift power structures, socio-economic forces and structural inequalities present in society today to give us new tools to rethink the world around us.​

The percentage of black and minority owned businesses in the UK is not representative of the country’s population with only 0.67% of companies in the UK being black-owned. Additionally, a 2013 report by Warwick Business School for the UK government revealed that black-owned businesses were charged higher interest rates than their white counterparts and were more likely to be rejected for an overdraft. These statistics underline the systemic inequality of who has access to funding and can become an entrepreneur.

In this conversation, Eric Collins will discuss why he founded Impact X, a venture capital firm that prioritises funding for minority-owned or underrepresented companies across Europe that miss out on mainstream sources of funding. Not only does Impact X support these businesses with funds, access to industry experts and strategic resources, they also hold the rest of the industry accountable – calling for more investors to get involved and redress this imbalance. The flawed claim by many banking institutions that the current model of finance is fair due to a lack of data being collected on ethnicity is proof that change is overdue. There is an urgent need for reform to direct funding towards financing black-owned businesses rather than blanket reparations for past involvement in the African Slave Trade. How can institutions invest in the future rather than apologising for the past?

Eric Collins is a serial entrepreneur and has served on boards and in the C-Suite of fast growth technology companies since 2001. Eric’s experiences include AI, SaaS based, mobile and health technology companies. He has helped sell organisations to listed companies including Microsoft, Medtronic and Nuance. He has been named one of the most powerful Black and BAME business people in the UK by the Powerlist and the Financial times.

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