Uber Eats reveals winners of £250,000 Black Business Fund
Twenty-five Black-owned restaurant businesses across the UK have each received £10,000 from the Uber Eats Black Business Fund.
Over 600 restaurants applied for the fund, which was set up by Uber Eats in partnership with Be Inclusive Hospitality and Enterprise Nation in December 2021.
Over half of the winners are based outside of London in towns and cities including Leeds, Blackburn, Huddersfield, Bristol and Gloucester.
It comes after 43% of Black business owners – the highest proportion out of any ethnic minority group – revealed to Be Inclusive Hospitality that ethnicity has hindered career progression.
In the UK, just 5% of small or medium-sized businesses are run by people from minority backgrounds, with research showing that Black and mixed ethnicity groups are least likely to be self-employed.
One of the winners of this year's fund was Londoner Santeni Brown (pictured), who left a career in fashion to open her first restaurant, Dinner at Sans, in Brixton.
She said: "I was born in Jamaica where food is a huge part of the culture. Bringing the energy of London and Jamaican food culture together has been such an amazing experience.
"Going forward I want to keep championing women of colour and people from underserved communities – helping to recruit and train staff looking to make their way in hospitality. With this grant I want to expand to a bigger unit, invest in staff, and take my marketing to the next level. For anyone looking to start their own restaurant I would say: start small, master your niche, and then the rest will grow from there."
Rachel Boma Olatoke and her husband, who run Harvest Afro-Caribbean in Windsor, also received a £10,000 grant. The pair opened the first Afro-Caribbean restaurant in Windsor in 2020, after they both lost their jobs during the pandemic.
She said: "After investing our life savings into the business, this grant will really help us take it to the next level. We plan to use the grant to improve our marketing and invest in expansion – potentially through a buffet, pop-up or a food van. Since the beginning we have been providing food for the homeless in our community so I of course want to keep up that support."
Matthew Price, general manager of Uber Eats UK, said: "We want to help the next generation of chefs and entrepreneurs succeed and we hope these grants will allow them to thrive."
Lorraine Copes, founder of Be Inclusive hospitality, said: "It has been an honour to partner on this initiative for a second year. Judging the entrants was a wonderful reminder of the innovation and passion that runs through the veins of hospitality, and I now have a long list of phenomenal Black-owned restaurants throughout the UK, that I am personally keen to visit."
The full list of winners is as follows:
• BakeYard (London)
• Dinner At San's (London)
• Harvest Afro Caribbean (Windsor)
• Heat African Restaurant (Oxford)
• Issa Vibe (London)
• Jam Delish (London)
• Jenny's Jerk Chicken (Leeds)
• Jerk off bbq (London)
• Jikoni East Africa ltd (Bristol)
• Juici Jerk (London)
• Lace Lounge Ltd (Stevenage)
• Leah's Place (Wolverhampton)
• Likkle Dutchpot Limited (London)
• Mama Put trap kitchen (Blackburn)
• Sun Valley Jerk (London)
• Our Roti Island (London)
• Popz Kitchen (Birmingham)
• Smithybrowns (Milton Keynes)
• sowl Fuud (Gloucester)
• Tatale (London)
• The Heavenly Cake Company (London)
• The Red Berry Vegan Catering Co (Huddersfield)
• The Venue Ltd (Liverpool)
• Treats Club (London)
• Tyler's Kitchen (Birmingham)