Foundervine, a social enterprise platform, is inviting you to their exciting one-day start-up festival (Founderfest) aimed at young entrepreneurs from the BME community.

Young people from BME backgrounds account for a significant number of the nearly 800, 000 young people in the UK aged 16-24 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). More than half fail to find work that matches their skills and unsurprisingly, account for some of the highest unemployment rates in the country. FounderFest, which takes place on 9 March 2018, is a one-day start up festival that will bring more than 200 young people together with an inclusive community of entrepreneurs, business professionals and expert advisors committed to helping young people kickstart new ventures this 2018.

We caught up with the one of the co-founders of Foundervine, Izzy Obeng, to find out more.

Founder of Foundervine, Izzy Obeng
Founder of Foundervine, Izzy Obeng

What is Foundervine?

We are an inclusive enterprise community, which supports early-stage entrepreneurs.  We help young people develop enterprise skills, gain start-up experience and build networks. We’re really passionate about promoting enterprise development in education – while they’re young –  with the goal of creating a diverse pipeline of talent which ultimately leads to more people starting businesses in the UK.



Why do we need a BME start up festival?

Founderfest was born out of a vision to empower and develop entrepreneurial talent within the BME community. The ultimate goal of the festival is to provide young people with the essential building blocks of starting a business. We’re also introducing participants to industry experts, advisors and buyers that they would likely never normally be able to access. The event is a real celebration of diversity, networks and community strength. We hope to use the festival as an opportunity to engage attendees with the opportunities available through Foundervine and our partners.

What are the biggest barriers for young people in starting up a business?

The obvious answer is that young people are often held back by a lack of funding, support and access to networks. These are really big issues and our programmes are designed to bridge these gaps. However, this is only part of the problem. At Foundervine, we understand that the issue goes right back to the way we teach young people about enterprise and finance when they are in school. 97% of teachers say that essential skills are as or more important than academic qualifications, yet a similar proportion report that insufficient investment is given to this skills development in schools.

Young people therefore leave school without sufficient ability to lead, work as a team, solve problems and articulate ideas – the essential building blocks to pursuing meaningful careers in business or otherwise. Our approach is therefore to intervene early, to give these young people the right start.

What can attendees expect to learn on the day?

Our sessions are designed for budding entrepreneurs with low attention spans but high ambitions. We know that starting up is tough, so our approach centres on delivering engaging content in a fun, easy to understand way. Attendees will spend the day focussing on how they can use the resources, tools and networks available to them to grow. We will be looking at everything from how to validate their idea, how to fund their business, how to attract customers and what steps they need to take before they launch.

We have 3 key goals we would like every attendee to meet:

  1. At least 3 new connections through out networking activities
  2. At least one impactful conversation with an advisor and potential mentor
  3. At least 10 key tips for starting and growing a business.
Founderfest is aimed at young entrepreneurs from the BME community
Founderfest is aimed at young entrepreneurs from the BME community

Please share your professional background and why you started Foundervine? 

I started Foundervine because I believe deeply in the power of enterprise education to change lives and give young people the essential skills needed to succeed in tomorrow’s economy. I’ve always been passionate about business creation and regularly blog, speak and coach early stage entrepreneurs.

I started my career at accountancy firm KPMG, where I worked as a management consultant within the firm’s People & Change practice. As a consultant, I delivered transformation projects for some of the world’s largest brands to help build organisations that were great places to work for people.

Alongside heading up Foundervine, I sit within the Enterprise team at a London university where I coach, hosts start-up events and delivers regular learning activities that inspire entrepreneurial thinking – including intensive bootcamps, an incubator programme and quarterly funding opportunities. I’m a passionate diversity campaigner and I’m fully committed to helping young people from under-represented groups build the skills to succeed.



Hosted by KPMG LLP in Canary Wharf, speakers on the day will include Ronke Lawal, founder of Ariatu PR, Dirk Birschof, CEO of Hatch Enterprise, and Business Relationship Director at Santander UK.

To find out more about Foundervine and their upcoming events visit:

Buy tickets here





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