Morgan Stanley’s diversity focused ‘Dragons’ Den’ comes to Europe

Morgan Stanley is set to commit $1m to startups run by women or ethnic minorities in Europe, as the Wall Street bank expands a programme it has run in the US since 2017.

The US bank is aiming to help provide seed capital to a group of companies that often struggle to find funding, and will be offering £200,000 each to five start-ups in Europe, the Middle East and Africa with either female or ethnic minority founders in a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style pitch process run over five months that allows entrepreneurs to present to investors.

The bank said in a statement that less than 3% of the venture capital funds invested in the UK went to all-female founders, and less than 2% to teams run entirely by ethnic minority professionals. The programme has run in the US for the past four years, where 50 start-ups have received a total of $80m.

READ Morgan Stanley launches recruitment programme to improve Black and gender diversity

Morgan Stanley will start receiving applications for the European programme from January, with the aim to begin the course in August. Over a period of five months, firms will receive mentoring and coaching from Morgan Stanley bankers, before a ‘demo day’ where they pitch to a network of investors.

“Establishing a platform in London giving access to critical advice, experience and funding to women- and minority-owned enterprises is not only something we are well-positioned to offer, but also allows us to address a significant market inefficiency,” said Clare Woodman, Morgan Stanley’s head of Emea and co-sponsor of the Emea Lab, in a statement.

READ Why JPMorgan wants to hire Olympic-level athletes as bankers

The Emea lab will be run by Morgan Stanley banker Sanghamitra Karra, who said that the US experience showed “the critical importance of dedicated growth capital and access to strategic advice and mentorship”.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Paul Clarke

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