A new course designed to provide venture capital industry training for executives while significantly improving representation of minority groups in the field has launched in the UK.

Launched by London Business School and Senderwood Group, owner of leading European seed investor LocalGlobe, the Newton Venture Program is designed to increase representation from women and Black and minority candidates.

It will target a 50-50 split of men and women and will aim for half of candidates to be from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups.

It is hoped that the training scheme will have a wider impact on the startup industry as a whole, increasing the chances of startups led by women or BAME founders getting funded by increasing representation among venture capital investors.

“To find the next generation of world-leading tech businesses, investors need to be more representative of our society,” said Lisa Shu executive director of the Newton Venture Program.

“Despite many fantastic initiatives introduced by VC firms to improve the diversity of voices within teams, this industry is still predominantly white and male. The Newton Venture Program is a chance to train the next generation of investing professionals and open up venture capital investing to a wider, more representative range of voices and experiences.

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“We know that businesses where there are a broader range of experiences and voices perform better.  We urgently need to make sure that the venture capital industry has a mix of genders, cultures and backgrounds, because this is the best way to ensure we find the most successful future businesses that can transform our lives.”

Newton Venture Program: The venture capital training scheme tackling BAME representation

The training scheme is designed to provide candidates with in-depth education, mentoring and hands-on experience at leading venture capital firms.

Topics covered will include venture financial and legals, sourcing and winning deals and fund management.

It is designed for those with between five and 15 years of work experience, who are either looking to become investors or who already have some investment experience.

The programme will be available as both an online course and an on-campus course, held at London Business School, with the former beginning in April 2021 and the latter in October 2021. There will be two cohorts run each year, with 60 students in each.

The online course will cost £2,050 and the on-campus version £16,000, although scholarships of up to 100% are available for both.

It is expected that the majority of the students will be from the UK, the EU, Africa and Israel.

“The UK’s tech sector has been punching above its weight for some time now, with great success in creating startups and scaleups,” said Julian Birkinshaw, professor of strategy & entrepreneurship at London Business School.

“However the venture capital industry on which it depends has had, until now, no formal training or entry routes. This is an opportunity to put in place courses that both upskill the wider industry, while also encouraging people who might not have considered a career in VC to think again about this area of the investment sector.”

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