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Tech Nation Libra programme launches for black and multiracial founders – BusinessCloud

Tech Nation has revealed the 30 companies which will join its new growth programme for ambitious black and multiracial entrepreneurs.

In 2020, Tech Nation partnered with Extend VC and Impact X on a report – Diversity Beyond Gender report – to look at how the colour of a founder’s skin can adversely affect their access to capital in the UK. 

The report highlighted that between 2009 and 2019, 76% of VC investment went to all-white founding teams, whilst only 23.36% went to multiracial founding teams – defined as having black heritage – and 0.24% went to all-black founding teams.

These entrepreneurs often face barriers to accessing VC investment, directly linked to racial bias, which creates additional challenges in their scaling journey.

The Libra programme welcomes black and multiracial founders from all areas of the UK, while almost half (43%) of the companies are led by female founders.

Over six months, the founders accepted into the programme will each receive over 60 hours of support, benefit from sessions delivered by established entrepreneurs, receive mentoring from world-leading scale coaches and peer-to-peer sessions on fundamental growth challenges; covering topics such as raising series A, selling into corporates, scaling your operations and expanding internationally.  

The programme will facilitate peer-to-peer learning and the cohort companies sharing the challenges in their own individual scaling journeys. The cohort will also be introduced to key stakeholders and decision-makers at corporates, investment firms, government bodies and others during networking events. 

The judges include: Tom Adeyoola, Daisy Onubogu, Dama Sathianathan, Nakai Jirira, PhD, Anika H., Margaret Sheyindemi, Maria Francisca Jorge (Kika), Blake Bower, Tanya Williams, Sebastiaan Bruinsma, Kevin Simmons, Saloni Bhojwani, Audrey Handem, Olivia Sibony,, Leo Chandler, Evgeny Shadchnev, Pam Sheemar, Harriet Saunders, Elias Suliman, Lisa Lambie, Kaitlin Fritz, Liam Gray and Abigail Iyin Osundun.

“At Tech Nation, we are working to build a future where anyone with a vision and drive can access the skills and support needed to scale and succeed as a game-changing leader,” said Tech Nation’s Libra lead Abi Mohamed (pictured).

“We have furthered our commitment to this by launching our first programme designed to tackle some of the unique challenges faced by black and multiracial founders in the UK. The 30 scaleups joining the Libra programme represent some of the most exciting, innovative, and resilient tech companies in the UK today, and are tackling some of our biggest challenges. 

“Spread right across the UK, companies are working in global health, providing access to electric vehicles, and helping businesses move towards circular business models. 

“By helping to support our future Libra alumni to reach unicorn status and beyond, we hope to play our part in  strengthening the UK’s position as one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business – for everyone.”

Air Math Tuition is an online maths education platform, curating personalised learning materials and tutoring services for GCSE and A-level students. It aims to democratise education with the power of machine learning, providing a personalised learning journey with minimal human involvement to drive costs down and make top-quality tutoring affordable to less privileged students. The company also aims to level the playing field for learning maths and mitigate elitism in the UK education system. 

Baselime makes it easy to identify and troubleshoot defects in serverless architectures. With Baselime’s tools, identifying bottlenecks and resolving incidents is painless, and IT teams can Ssop aimlessly firefighting when there’s an outage. 

Beautonomy is a marketplace where beauty content creators can monetise their expertise with customisable products creators can design and promote, helping them to monetise their social media channels.

Boxx – London

Boxx is a boxing-inspired fitness brand with both a digital content platform and a physical studio. The company is currently developing ‘the peloton of boxing’, a connected product designed to blend in beautifully at home. 

Brijj – Bristol

Brijj is a project management tool built for data and analytics teams to collaborate with their stakeholders so they can deliver high-quality, actionable insights, together. 

Chanodil is an automated sourcing platform that helps brands build faster, leaner and more responsible supply chains. Its mission is to create the world’s most trusted supply chains, offer the most responsible and innovative sourcing solutions and provide the most seamless experience for both brands and manufacturers. Through the platform, brands are matched with the required suppliers for their business and can then use the platform to communicate, share tech packs, receive quotes, request samples and manage production from design all the way to delivery – all from one dashboard while tracking all the actions in the supply chain.  

Compare Ethics verifies businesses’ sustainability credentials using patent-pending technology and ensures clear returns on investment for businesses increasing their sustainability standards. For consumers, it provides a trusted source of sustainability information.  

Define optimises the contract drafting and reviewing process by allowing users to quickly access key information – all defined terms and references – in legal documents without ever having to leave the provision they are working on and therefore lose their context of review. Define acts as a risk management tool and efficiency software that has helped lawyers saved 30 mins to 1 hour a day when working on legal documents. Customers are some of the world’s largest law firms and corporate legal teams including Allen & Overy, Barclays and Deloitte.  

Eccobell is a “contactless as a service” provider, building an ecosystem of on-demand web applications using contactless technology to innovate how people access, communicate and interact with each other. The first product in the ecosystem is a “video doorbell as a service” for houses, apartments and commercial buildings, enabling anyone, anywhere to communicate with guests at just a tap. The product replaces redundant intercom systems allowing visitors to simply scan a display code outside an entrance to talk directly with residents wherever they are on any smart device or mobile. 

Finders Force provides shift-booking software to connect, hire and interact with agency staff across the entire traffic management industry. The platform connects depots with quality operatives using artificial intelligence and is designed for systemising the hiring of operatives, monitoring performance stats and automating every component of staff management. 

Flair Impact is a people analytics company with a survey-based product that helps organisations measure and build anti-racist cultures. Flair Impact’s mission is to create a world in which all ethnicities can thrive.  

Framework is the world’s first on-demand business school, especially made for the people building the businesses of the future. After successfully launching Founders Academy – a 9-month alternative MBA programme for startup joiners in partnership with Founders Forum – Framework is now productising their curriculum into a mobile learning experience that can scale globally.

Happaning’s service is like Google street view, but with video. Happaning lets you watch an event from any perspective, at any time and from anywhere in one immersive, navigatable experience. 

Herbybox is a direct-to-consumer luxury herbal tea brand, with natural benefits. The company is at the intersection of herbal tea and the supplement world, offering tea that is more than just tea. Herbybox is now stocked in Selfridges. 

During the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak, Zimbabwe-born founder and CEO Atherton Mutombwera was shocked to learn how many deaths could have been prevented through wider availability of diagnostics, and that across the African continent there were only 14 centralised laboratories that could diagnose Ebola, the lack of which contributed to the 70% fatality rate. In response, Hutano Diagnostics is developing a modular configurable Lateral Flow Device (LFD) platform. This platform is modular and configurable for either single disease, or simultaneous multiple disease diagnosis, on the same LFD strip. Once developed, the platform reduces the time to LFD development in preparation for future specific disease outbreaks from 2 years to 6 months. 

ICI CARE is building machine-learning software to create personalised hair care products with natural raw ingredients. It uses plastic-free packaging, building a company that will benefit the community. 

Jobseekrs is the world’s first video interactive job site that mitigates bias at the screening and sourcing stages of the hiring process with a particular focus on screening for culture fit and matching for company culture-add through a series of psychometric-type questions.The company’s mission is to become the primary and most unbiased job-search and matching engine on the internet while ensuring that everyone is better engaged with and has more equal chances at all job opportunities. It also aims to further scale the platform to use cognitive data and AI to help make hiring more predictive and even less biased. 

Legal-Pythia uses an explainable AI, web-based software to organize, categorize and search through legal information (especially legal evidence) to find duplications and contradictions. Through these services, lawyers will have more time, increase their productivity and achieve a true work-life balance. In addition, lawyers will understand how and why the software came to certain predictions, made possible by the explainable AI. 

Loopcycle is a product traceability platform redefining the management, recovery and resale of valuable secondary products. Loopcycle aims at revolutionising the way that businesses manage, recover and resell their physical assets, driving integrity within the reuse marketplace. By embedding a unique product ID, called ‘Cyclecode’, the platform facilitates whole product lifecycle visibility and direct interactions between manufacturers and end-users where intermediaries control product distribution. Loopcycle is helping businesses to deliver the net-zero carbon target and move towards a circular economy while maximising their commercial value. 

NxSteps is a digital healthcare solutions company focused on maximising human performance through the knowledge of biomechanics. It operates a blended economic model of both traditional product revenue and SaaS-based app-delivered technology. Its IoT-powered wearable smart insole, application and AI voice coach aids professional and everyday athletes to achieve their health and fitness goals by optimising performance whilst preventing injuries in an objective, understandable, actionable and repeatable way to ensure physical longevity. 

Optimum Health has developed Kami, a parental well being data company building a first-to-market emotion detection and digital support system solution for working parents. It has secured grant funding from Innovate UK and investment from Google, signed two pilot partners, built a 20+ client pipeline and established a distribution partnership with a group of day nurseries. it is now advancing to market with the beta product.  

Ruka Hair’s vision is to become the definitive hair brand for black women, globally. Ruka started the journey with extensions, combining a conscious, digital-first brand and community with a product refined through a scientific and user-led approach. Beyond providing textures that truly match Black women’s hair textures, Ruka is completely reshaping the experience through the personalisation in the RUKA quiz, helping people texture match and find the right extensions for them.  

ScreenHits TV is a streaming video aggregator app that provides audiences with a single place to stream across their new and existing services. ScreenHits TV is addressing the current fragmentation and subscription fatigue challenges in this new and exciting world of app TV. It creates a one-stop guide to search libraries across platforms and live online TV without switching platforms or signing up for new services. The service is particularly relevant given that 2020 was the year when global subscriptions for streaming services passed 1 billion. 

Shwap – Exeter

Shwap is a software solution to help fashion, homeware and lifestyle retailers monetise the secondary market of their products, and earn revenue from products they’ve already sold. Shwap’s technology leverages peer-to-peer resale in order to give the UK’s 200,000 retailers a means to monetise the secondary market of their products without incurring operational costs. Shwap developed software that retailers can integrate into the e-commerce stores, or point-of-sale systems that enables Shwap to identify and then manage the lifecycle of products as they move between different owners. Using this software Shwap has created a frictionless resale platform that creates product listings in real time as users shop.  

Talley provides a safe space to share experiences by anonymously connecting members on-demand, via in-app audio conversations, to everyday people (trained Listeners) who have experienced or are overcoming the same challenges as those members and can empathise with them. Talley aims at being the first line of defence enabling users to address those day-to-day emotional distress issues (e.g. anxiety, depression, loneliness, toxic relationships, grief) which may lead to severe mental health problems if left unchecked.  

ThrillXR is a gamified virtual world for digital fashion. With gaming and blockchain technology, ThrillXR created a virtual world for fashion retail. Users can visit this virtual world via a PC or VR headset, enter 3D versions of real stores with other users and buy the digital version of real clothes for their avatars. ThrillXR is backed by Epic Games, creators of Fortnite, and mentored by Unity, Rise (Microsoft for startups) and the University of Cambridge Innovators for sustainable fashion. 

Trapar – Edinburgh

Trapar connects customers to quality local transport operators. It gathers comprehensive requirements and shares these with vetted operators. In this way, Trapar can provide quality assurance for customers and efficiency for operators. 

Voltric is a mobility-as-a-service provider dedicated to making the growing demand for all forms of mobility practical, sustainable and efficient. The all-inclusive electric vehicle subscription service allows consumers to access a range of road-ready, electric cars all for one price per month without the concerns of managing insurance, tax, MOT and everything needed to get onto the road.   

White Label Loyalty believes that loyalty is broken and makes it the company’s mission to fix it. 75% of loyalty programmes fail because they are built as one-size-fits-all, are not data driven, do not involve no personalisation and mostly only reward based on transactions. Instead, the company offers a data-driven technology platform that helps businesses increase revenue and retention by understanding, predicting and influencing customer behaviour. 

Your FLOCK is a SaaS platform that uses data and science behind what motivates people at work to enable teams to be more productive and engaged. Your FLOCK is working on machine learning-driven software that helps managers coach their teams by providing users with activities tailored to their motivations and designed to help them be more ‘in-sync’ and work more effectively as a team.

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fashion an lifestyle

Society must not be judgmental on models: Kaisi – NewsDay


MALE model Omar Qassim Kaisi says society should not be judgmental on models, but value the arts as a profession just like any other career.

In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style, Kaisi said it was not easy to flourish in the modelling industry as there were so many stereotypes associated with the art.

“There are so many theories that people associate models with.

“Some think models are sex symbols, which is wrong. There are also many challenges that need models to be thick skinned to overcome them,” he said.

“Many times, you get rejected and denied opportunities and that is common even with household names. As a model one is expected to look like a model everyday and that brings a lot of pressure sometimes.”

Kaisi said commitment, hard work and courage had kept him going in the demanding industry.

“Modelling is not as easy as it appears, it takes creativity, confidence and imagination to bring artistic visions to life. It is very demanding such that the strength needed to keep going is too much,” he said.

“Hard work, believing in myself and commitment is power. I am fully committed to what I do, that is how I fully express myself.  I overcame challenges by being daring.

“It takes a lot of courage to claim that you are a model in a space that does not believe greatness can come out of it. I have not let difficult circumstances bring me down.”

Kaisi believes positive change in the sector should start with agencies for society to have a better understanding of modelling.

“I think agencies should be open to collaborations and helping talents. There should be more support not only from the big industry names, but models should also support each other through collaborative projects. Maybe that way the value of the arts might be understood,” he said.

“Public broadcasts have also failed to support and make young creators believe in themselves.

“Most creators and models give up and pursue careers they do not love just to survive and make their dreams come true.”

Kaisi, whose vision is to be the most influential Muslim model, is one of the brand ambassadors for Intricate Lifestyle.

“I have worked with brands like Juvenile Glide, Tribe and Push Athletics and the goal is to be one of the greatest creative directors for fashion and the end goal is giving back to the community,” he said.

“I am going to bridge the gap between me and my ideal self by creating the best content that is timeless and brings value to the modelling and creative industry.

“God willing my work will reach the right people and a lot of doors are going to open.”

  • Follow Kimberly on Twitter @lizellekimkari

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T20 World Cup: Looking back at six editions of smart cricket at its best – Gulf News


On top of the world: West Indies’ Carlos Brathwaite (right), who smashed four consecutive sixes in the last over to help them win the 2016 World Cup, erupts. Marlon Samuels, who played a key role on both occasions the Caribbeans won the title, is seen with him.
Image Credit: PTI file

Kolkata: The T20 World Cup may have seen only six editions, but it has certainly come a long way from being an ambitious experiment of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2007 in South Africa.

As it’s time for the seventh edition to start in the Oman and the UAE from Sunday, it’s worth taking a look at some of the memorable moments from the past editions – be it Carlos Brathwaite hammering four sixes in the final over for the West Indies in the last edition of 2016, Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes off Stuart Broad or Umar Gul taking five for six.

Five different teams have lifted the trophy and the West Indies are the only country to win it twice in 2012 and 2016. The other winners are India (2007), Pakistan (2009), England (2010), Sri Lanka (2014). As the duels in the desert will give rise to more extraordinary cricketing feats over the next month, it’s also time for a quick recap of the last six events:


A leader is born: India’s triumph in the inaugural edition of T20 World Cup saw the birth of a new leader in Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Image Credit: AFP

2007 (Winners: India)

The first ICC Men’s T20 World Cup began in South Africa with Chris Gayle striking the first-ever international T20 century in the opening game. The ‘Universe Boss’ plundered 10 sixes against the hosts in a brutal 117, coming off 57 balls and in a stunning partnership of 145 for the first wicket.

Two days later, Gayle fell for a third-ball duck and West Indies slipped to a shock defeat to Bangladesh, who chased down 165 with two overs to spare.

The upsets didn’t end there as Zimbabwe stunned Australia to claim their first win over an ICC full member in four years, with Brendan Taylor to the fore with an unbeaten 64.


Pakistan won all three of their games in the Super 8 stage as skipper Shoaib Malik led from the front and Gul was potent with the ball to down New Zealand and reach the final. Yuvraj Singh was the defining player of the tournament, starring with 70 from 30 balls in a semi-final win over Australia that set up a final between cricket’s greatest rivals, won by India by just five runs.

Meanwhile, his six sixes in an over against England made Yuvraj an international superstar.

Herschelle Gibbs was the only batter to have done it in international cricket before Stuart Broad bounded in to bowl to Yuvraj in their group stage clash.

Yuvraj reached 50 in 12 balls and wrote a chapter of still unmatched T20 history.


Shahid Afridi was a standout performer with both bat and ball in Pakistan’s World T20 triumph in 2009.
Image Credit: AP file

2009 (Winners: Pakistan)

The second edition of the tournament moved to England, a country which gave birth to both the 50-overs game and then the T20 format.

The tournament started with a sensational upset when the Dutch, an Associate member, claimed an incredible four-wicket victory at Lord’s.

Later on, Gayle would be a headline act once again, thumping 88 from 50 balls against Australia with sixes that broke records for the furthest Oval crowds had seen the ball travel at the historic ground.

Packed English crowds watched on as Australia were beaten by a Kumar Sangakkara-inspired Sri Lanka to fall at the first hurdle in the group stage.

The hosts claimed a thrilling three-run win over India in the Super 8s but finished third in their group to miss out on the final four.

All of the youngsters watching tried to recreate the ‘Dilscoop’ as Tillakaratne Dilshan lit up the event, making an unbeaten 96 to down West Indies in the semi-final and ending as top run scorer.

Shahid Afridi hit his straps with bat and ball in the knockout stages and made half-centuries in the semi-finals and final as Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets in a low-scoring Lord’s affair.


England’s Kevin Pietersen was the Man of the Tournament in 2009 World T20.
Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

2010 (Winners: England)

England ended their long wait for a win in an ICC global limited-overs event as they dispatched arch rivals Australia to be crowned champions in the West Indies.

Kevin Pietersen was named the Man of the Tournament for his contribution to England’s triumph, finishing with 248 runs from six matches despite getting off to a slow start. His vital stand of 111 with Craig Kieswetter against Australia was his most decisive contribution, scoring 47 from 31 balls to help England claim their first major ICC tournament win.

In the group stages, Paul Collingwood’s side progressed from Group D in second behind the West Indies after a Duckworth-Lewis induced loss to the hosts and a no-result against Ireland.

But England came alive in the knockout stages, topping their Super 8s group with victories over defending champions Pakistan and one of the pre-tournament favourites, South Africa.

On the other side of the draw, Australia also topped their group to progress along with Sri Lanka as the West Indies and 2007 champions India bowed out.

Australia then won a thrilling contest against Pakistan to reach the final where they came up short against England, who chased down 148 to take the title with a seven-wicket win.

2012 (Winners: West Indies)

The first T20 World Cup to be held in an Asian country, Sri Lanka, delivered another first-time champion as the West Indies stunned the host nation to clinch their maiden title on a balmy evening in Colombo.

The likes of Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine, who had by then cast their influence in Indian Premier League (IPL), exploited their familiarity with the sub-continental conditions to win the tournament in sensational fashion.

Darren Sammy’s men were consistent from start to finish as they ended an eight-year wait for global silverware following West Indies’ ICC Champions Trophy victory in 2004.

Windies finished second in their group behind Australia before also finishing runners-up in their Super 8s group behind Sri Lanka, who won their first meeting by nine wickets.

The other group saw table-toppers Australia progress along with Pakistan, with the latter falling at the semi-final hurdle to Sri Lanka in a narrow 16-run defeat. The West Indies turned on the style in their last-four encounter with Australia, with Gayle’s electrifying unbeaten 75 from 41 balls helping his side storm into the final with a 74-run victory.

However, it was Marlon Samuels who took centrestage in the silverware showpiece, striking 78 from 56 balls in Colombo to fire Windies to a memorable 36-run success.


Lasith Malinga (left), who captained Sri Lanka during their successful campaign in 2014 World T20, along with star man Kumar Sangakkara.
Image Credit: AP

2014 (Winners: Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka finally shed their reputation as the nearly men by winning the 2014 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, beating India by six wickets in the final in Bangladesh. Since lifting the 1996 50-over World Cup, Sri Lanka had lost in the 2007 and 2011 finals while also finishing as runners-up in the 2009 and 2012 T20 editions, the latter on home soil.

In the final, it was a superb exhibition of death bowling by Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara who restricted India to 130 for four and an unbeaten 52 off 35 balls from Kumar Sangakkara saw his side home.

Virat Kohli had made a half-century of his own with 77 off 58 in India’s innings and finished the tournament as the leading run-scorer with 319 at a mightily impressive average of 106.33.

South Africa’s leg-spinner Imran Tahir and Ahsan Malik, of surprise package the Netherlands, jointly topped the leading wicket-takers with 12 apiece.

2016 (Winners: West Indies)

The West Indies entered unchartered territory with a sensational T20 World Cup win in 2016 in India, becoming the first side to claim the title twice.

Marlon Samuels had blasted his nation to glory in 2012 and he was at it again four years later, scoring 85 off just 66 balls to pick up his second Player of the Match gong in a T20 World Cup final after the four-wicket win over England. However, it was certainly an unheralded allrounder Carlos Brathwaite’s night as he smoked Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes in the final over at the Eden Gardens.

After 2014, 2016 was the second tournament to feature 16 teams and Afghanistan were the main beneficiaries as the only Associate nation to make it to the Super 10s. Allrounder Mohammad Nabi topped the bowling rankings with 12 scalps and bowled expertly in tandem with 17-year-old leg-spinning sensation Rashid Khan who claimed 11 victims.

India’s Kohli was again in supreme form – making 82 not out against Australia to ensure his side made the semi-finals. In the last four, he struck an unbeaten 89 and although his team came up short against West Indies, he was named Player of the Tournament with 273 runs at 136.50 in five innings.

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Popular South African Influencer Mihlali Ndamase Spotted In Bulawayo –

Popular South African Influencer Mihlali Ndamase Spotted In Bulawayo 

Popular South African Influencer Mihlali Ndamase Spotted In Bulawayo-iHarare

Popular South African Influencer Mihlali Ndamase Spotted In Bulawayo-iHarare

Multi-award-winning content creator and social media influencer Mihlali Ndamase was recently spotted in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Mihlali jetted into the country yesterday for “The Pichani” event.

Taking to her social media handles, Mihlali revealed that she is  in Bulawayo attending “The PiChani” which is a Pan African premier fashion, lifestyle, and networking event that is held annually in Bulawayo.

 Gilmore Qhawe Khumalo popularly known as GilmoreTee is the founder of “The PiChani.” He is an award-winning media practitioner, curator, publicist, and content creator. 

The PiChani event brings together young achievers from different fields of interest in Zimbabwe and South Africa to network and celebrate their success.

Popular media personality and author MisRed was also in Bulawayo attending “The Pichani” event. MisRed and Mihlali were spotted hanging out and whilst at it, they took some pictures which they shared on social media.

She also took some pictures with some fans at the event.

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