Culture Capital Group is giving £1000 in grants to young black creatives in the UK under 25. The grants are generously supported by internationally-acclaimed poet Sophia Thakur, Guap and Culture Capital’s educational media platform, Cheat Codes. The ‘For The Culture’ grants will be launched at the inaugural Black Creative Festival at Cambridge University, where the fund’s founder, Toni Fola-Alade, is a recent alumnus.
Culture Capital is extremely excited to announce its first sponsorship, The Black Creatives Festival at Cambridge University, which is a three-day series of events held in Queens’ College. Themed “Soulful Expressions”, the Festival seeks to connect and celebrate young black artists, as well as widening knowledge and demystify access to creative spaces across the country and inside Cambridge. The Festival co-founded by Mei Alozie and Aliyah Irabor-York aims to enable cross-generational conversations and build community for black artists across disciplines. It will include an exhibition opening, open mic events and a debate at the Cambridge Union, an outreach day for Year 12 students, and engaging workshops, inspiring panels, and interactive networking opportunities. The Festival is absolutely free for all attendees. Accessibility and affordability is central to the Festival’s mission, opening up the opportunities available in elite spaces like Cambridge University to all young black creatives and those who enjoy their art.
Culture Capital Group is an investment & strategic advisory firm, incubating & investing in technology; media & marketing; sports & entertainment; and art. Founded by 24-year-old entrepreneur, Toni Fola-Alade, The one-year-old conglomerate is backed by three generations of successful entrepreneurs and investors managing billions in capital, professional athletes and entertainers, aged 24-87, across three continents. Their mission is to create and capitalise category-defining companies, whilst championing our culture and empowering our community. Sponsoring the Black Creatives Festival and supporting the students at our alma mater is a no-brainer initiative for Culture Capital to support. We stand alone as a Gen-Z led and black-owned investment firm and are unique in our focus on the global creative economy. Our community drives what’s culturally relevant but historically we have not been the ones to capitalise from the wealth that is created, which is why this is a key sector of investment for us. Our very first investments have been as lead investors in the first funding rounds of black-owned and youth-led fashion, media and marketing companies. According to a study conducted in 2020, only 2.6% of black-owned businesses in the UK are owned by individuals under the age of 24; however, we have successfully found a number of profitable and fast-growing ventures to back. It follows for us to also support our community through sponsoring and providing grants to young black creatives at the grass-roots.
This cause is close to our hearts for another reason. 5 years ago, almost to the day, Culture Capital’s Chairman co-founded the Motherland Conference at the prestigious Cambridge Union whilst he was President of the prestigious African-Caribbean society to celebrate ‘black excellence in the professional and creative space’. The one-day event featured keynotes from creative leaders such as Ozwald Boateng OBE and Stormzy, the Black Creatives Festival takes it much further over 3 Days, covering a wide range of industries. It’s a reflection of the growth and success of the black community at Cambridge, with the number of black undergraduates admitted more than doubling in that timespan. The initiative of current Cambridge students to start something like this is part of a broader movement of change at the University which is more than we could have hoped for back when we were on campus.
The For The Culture Grants was born out of our desire to leave a lasting and far-reaching legacy for the Festival. Whilst a student at Cambridge, Culture Capital’s founder was fortunate to receive a grant from real estate mogul and philanthropist, Ric Lewis, which allowed him to test his creative ideas. At the age of 21, he and his co-founders eventually raised venture capital for their startup, becoming some of the youngest black founders in Europe to do so. Despite being eventually bet on by incredible investors, accessing them in the first place was incredibly difficult. In 2020, less than 0.25% of VC funding went to Black-led companies. We imagine the amount of funding for black creatives is even lower and thus we want to do our part in our own small way. The Creative industries often require a level of financial security not afforded to young black people to experiment, build, fail, and build again. Many young people have important creative contributions to make and just need a helping hand to get their ideas off the ground so we’re providing that Cheat Code.
Internationally-acclaimed poet Sophia Thakur generously matched Culture Capital’s donation, which was used to expand the grant offering to young black creatives not attending Cambridge University. GUAP* is the supporting partner to the ‘For The Culture Grants’, hosting workshops and mentoring sessions for shortlisted creatives at their office. Judges and Mentors include successful young black creatives such as Stephen Tayo, a fashion Content Creator and CyberSecurity Consultant with 1.5M+ followers; Mary-Grace Olu, a Content Creator, and Future Trainee Lawyer with 100K followers; The Flag Twins, who are Models, Publishers and Entrepreneurs; Ezra Ola, an accomplished Writer and Banker; and Nelson and Abigail Adeoti, co-founders of OFFBEAT Group Agency, as well as founding 9Bills and being an International DJ, respectively. Access to capital is one constraint but lack of connections and industry knowledge also present disadvantages and Culture Capital aims to change that by connecting creatives to a community of mentors.
Collaboration has sometimes been missing in historic efforts to further our cause and culture. At Culture Capital, partnering as a collective with professional athletes and content creators to invest in and build incredible companies and charitable initiatives that impact our community, whilst making it cool to do so in the wider culture Culture Capital aims to be much more than an investment vehicle – they’re building an institution, reinvesting profits into philanthropic and political initiatives to create more prosperous lives for communities of colour, economically, socially and politically. Earlier this month, Culture Capital gave £900 to school-aged black boys in South London, in partnership with JDSports, through the Smiling Boys Project, run in collaboration with Guap.
Our tagline is “the culture will be capitalised”, a play on the revolutionary adage. Our day job is to invest capital, but our real passion is to inspire creativity – we are Patrons, as much as we are Principals.
Apply here for the For The Culture Grants: https://forms.gle/oayEfmEY1UEM1R2i8