Libra: Diversity Drives Innovation

Libra is the growth programme for underrepresented tech founders seeking support for their scale journey.

The UK’s Black and Multi-Ethnic communities comprise 14% of the UK population, yet all-ethnic teams received an average of 1.7% of the venture capital investments made at seed, early and late stage between 2009 and 2019. For black women – it was 0.02%.

Libra is dedicated to empowering and connecting underrepresented tech founders, equipping them with the knowledge, connections, and tools necessary to scale their tech startups.

The Libra programme serves as a springboard for founders, fostering an environment of openness and intimacy. It provides a platform for genuine conversations about the unique challenges and experiences faced by underrepresented founders, as well as the keys to success in their entrepreneurial journey.

The programme offers a range of resources, including industry expert-led workshops, tailored content, peer-to-peer support, and valuable coaching sessions. Additionally, participants gain access to funding opportunities and connections with investors and mentors.

*Underrepresented founders are members of the Global Majority but are visible ethnic minorities in the UK. This includes: Black, South Asian, East Asian, Latinx or Arab and those with mixed ethnicity.

Applications for Libra are now closed.  Please pre-register your interest for Libra 2025 here.  We will notify you when applications open.  (Our programmes are free to join)

Impressive alumni include:

Ready to redefine tech boundaries?

The Libra programme by Tech Nation is your launchpad.

Who can apply

Check the application criteria here >

  • At least one founder that self-identifies from an ethnic minority (Black, South Asian, Latinx, East Asian and Arab). This member must have a majority/equal equity stake in the business.
  • Must be headquartered in the UK. 
  • Must be a digital tech enabled business with a product or service. 
  • Seed to pre-Series A funding stage. If bootstrapped, the maximum annual revenue must be below £1.5m.
  • A commitment to community – be able to demonstrate a willingness to support their founder community.
  • Proof of impact – the company must be working on a venture that has a positive socio, economic or environmental impact.

FAQ’s

What is the background of the programme?

We launched the Libra programme in 2021 in response to the numerous reports highlighting a number of underrepresented groups lacking access to equal opportunities across the tech ecosystem. The Libra 1.0 programme focused on Black founders and their lived experience of little or no access to capital, commercial and networking opportunities.

Libra 2.0 supported more ethnic minority founders groups: Black, South Asian, East Asian, and Arab.

In the latest Atomico State of European Tech Report 2021, the data highlights these groups as having the least amount of funding. The reports also highlight a record year of capital for startups, with over $100Bn invested across Europe, but raising capital hasn’t become any easier for early-stage founders in the UK. Access is not equally distributed and ethnic minorities are one group of underrepresented founders that feels most alienated.

Can I apply for several programmes?

Yes, and we encourage that you apply to the programmes you feel will benefit you the most. Keep in mind, you could be eligible for several! For example, if you fulfil the criteria of Libra but you’re an aspiring Climate, you could apply to both the Libra and Climate programme.

How is the programme funded?

The programme is fully funded by Tech Nation.

How can I get support with my application?

We are here to help you with your application. Please email us for further information at info@technation.io.

How much time do I have to commit to sessions and events?

The programme will last for 6 months, kicking off in January 2024. The programme is a mix of face to face and hybrid sessions including one expert-led session per month, along with a peer-to-peer networking sessions and individual founder coaching sessions. The time spent on the programme varies every week/month, but we estimate 5 – 6 hours per month.

Pre-register your interest for Libra 2025

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Founding Partner

HSBC Innovation Banking provides commercial banking services, expertise and insights to the technology, life science and healthcare, private equity and venture capital industries. HSBC Innovation Banking UK is a subsidiary of HSBC Group, benefiting from its stability, strong credit rating and international reach to help fuel its growth. www.hsbcinnovationbanking.com