Left-hand side, dark blue background with 25 Years anniversary lofo in white. Left side, purple background and white text, Global Entrepreneurship Week, Charter for Inclusive Entrepreneurship logo, quote from Sarah King, CEO and co-founder of Obu "Being a signatory is about the values that shape and influence our decision-making – whether that be decisions on hiring, product development or our own investment strategy."

November 16, 2023, by aczht

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023 – Obu sign up to the Charter for Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Throughout Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023 (GEW2023), we’re reflecting on 25 years of innovation and growth in the Nottingham University Business School, and showcasing inspiring examples of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship.

This is a great opportunity to put the spotlight on the Charter for inclusive entrepreneurship, developed by Dr Lorna Treanor (Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship) at the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which is part of Nottingham University Business School.

What is the Charter for Inclusive Entrepreneurship?

Dr Lorna Treanor at the national launch of the Charter for Inclusive Entrepreneurship October 2023 at the Shard in London.

Dr Lorna Treanor at the national launch of the Charter for Inclusive Entrepreneurship October 2023 at the Shard in London.

Created in partnership with colleagues from The Women’s Organisation, the Charter is part of Lorna’s collaboration with regional partners, including Nottingham Trent University and D2N2 (the local enterprise partnership for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire). It aims to minimise barriers to entrepreneurship for under-represented groups by creating a more inclusive enterprise ecosystem. Following a successful launch in the East Midlands in March 2023, the Charter was launched nationally in October 2023 at the Shard in London.

Find out how signatories Obu will benefit from committing to the Charter:

Obu were early signatories to the Charter and Sarah King, CEO and co-founder, discusses why it was important to commit and the positive impact it’s had on the way they operate as a business:

“It feels like the global theme for GEW2023 – Entrepreneurs thrive here – has been designed with the Charter for Inclusive Entrepreneurship in mind. In the UK, GEW2023 is calling for an increase in opportunity for all entrepreneurs, supported by an inclusive ecosystem that enables ‘access for all’.

“The business I cofounded and am CEO of – Obu – is a founding signatory of the Charter. I spoke at the launch event alongside our then Chair, Natalie Gasson-McKinley MBE and Maggie O’Carrol, CEO of The Women’s Organisation. That event was a jumping-off point – an opportunity not only to launch the Charter but for us as a team at Obu to acknowledge our support for its key values: inclusion, diversity, collaboration and innovation.

“I spoke about the courage, creativity and conviction needed to create lasting and sustainable change within a sector where just 2% of investment is placed in businesses founded by women (a figure that plummets further for black female founders, as identified in research carried out by Erika Brodnock and the team at Extend Ventures). This is also a sector where just 14% of angel investors are women, a gender gap that dramatically (and sadly negatively) shapes and influences the UK’s economic output, innovation rates and achievement of key ESG goals.

“For me, being a signatory of the Charter isn’t about being able to ‘claim signatory status’. It’s not about a logo on our website. It’s about how we at both a Board, leadership and team level, live and breathe within our business. Being a signatory is about the values that shape and influence our decision-making – whether that be decisions on hiring, product development or our own investment strategy. It’s about acknowledging that we won’t always get it right, but that our intent is to always strive for better and to listen and learn from, and with, the key stakeholders Obu serves.

“The Charter sets out five principles and there are two which particularly resonate for us as a team. Principle four of the charter is about enabling equal access to finance across the enterprise ecosystem and principle five is about reforming policy to enable equal participation. The #overbeingunderfunded campaign was about both of those things and saw us fight for, and successfully secure legislative change.

“Through the campaign, we created an extended window for early-stage founders to apply for SEIS funding. It’s a step we know is significantly benefiting women entrepreneurs, who typically face more time-consuming investment journeys.

“Another of the charter’s key recommendations is that sex, gender, race, ethnicity, age and disability data is gathered on funding recipients to provide transparency on who is successfully accessing investment.

“This Summer, we launched the Obu Angel Investment platform and in the week preceding GEW2023, we announced the first two investment rounds to close on our platform. The data capture described in the Charter summarises the information we seek to gather from the entrepreneurs we serve. The purpose for us of this data capture isn’t to say “look, we’ve got the data” but is instead an opportunity for us to ensure we’re hitting key goals and to reflect, understand and turn the data into insight that allows us to continually shape our proposition so that we unlock growth investment for those entrepreneurs who – to date – have been overlooked within the investment ecosystem.

“In GEW2023, we’re restating our commitment to Founders across the UK to say we see you, we believe in you and we’re more determined than ever to make the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in the UK accessible to you. From who we partner with as we seek investment opportunities for the Obu platform, to the design of our due diligence process and to the diversity of the angel investors we seek to attract on the Obu investment platform. We know that each one of these actions will take us a step closer to closing the gender investment gap. To seeing our economy thrive. And to realising – at scale – the commercial and societal impacts diverse entrepreneurs have to offer.”

Get more information and express your interest:

For more information about the Charter for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, download the brochure here.

If you’re a business and want to sign up to the Charter to demonstrate a clear commitment towards the development of an inclusive ecosystem, you can express your interest here.

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