Climb23: Empowering Founders and Fostering Inclusive Leadership

Discover key insights from D-List's Climb23 which focused on empowering diverse founders, overcoming challenges in business growth and the importance of inclusive leadership. In this blog post, we will delve into the key takeaways from the event and explore the insights shared by esteemed panellists.


Recently, OneTech had the privilege of attending Climb23, a remarkable gathering organised by D-List, focused on supporting  founders in their entrepreneurial journey. This dynamic event brought together industry leaders, funders, and support providers to discuss various funding options, challenges faced by founders, the importance of inclusive leadership, and innovative strategies for developing a diverse workforce. In this blog post, we will delve into the key takeaways from the event and explore the insights shared by esteemed panellists.

Exploring Funding Options and Addressing Founders' Pain Points

The "Meet the Funder" session at Climb23 provided valuable insights into the funding landscape for founders. It highlighted the challenges that Black entrepreneurs often encounter when seeking financial support. The session delved into alternative funding options, including grants and investment opportunities. Additionally, participants discussed the pain points associated with submitting grant and funding applications, offering practical tips to navigate the process effectively. By understanding these challenges, we can work towards improving access to capital for Black founders and creating a more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Overcoming Challenges in Business Growth

One of the focal points of Climb23 was addressing the challenges faced by diverse founders in growing their businesses. The panel engaged in a meaningful discussion on issues such as procurement, time management, and visibility. By shedding light on the structural barriers that hinder the growth of BAME-owned businesses, the event fostered a greater understanding of the systemic changes needed for progress. Recognising and addressing these challenges will contribute to creating an environment where all entrepreneurs can flourish and reach their full potential.

Empowering Founders through Business Support Initiatives

During Climb23, OneTech stood out as a remarkable business support initiative. It was commended for its commitment to providing Black founders with not only practical tools but also a growth-oriented mindset. The event highlighted the significance of tailored support, mentorship, and access to networks in empowering entrepreneurs to overcome challenges and accelerate their business growth. Initiatives like OneTech play a crucial role in creating a supportive ecosystem that uplifts and nurtures underrepresented founders.

Community Engagement: Support Providers Meeting the Needs of Founders

A key theme emphasised throughout Climb23 was the importance of support providers actively engaging with the communities they aim to assist. Instead of placing the burden on communities to seek out providers, the event underscored the value of support systems proactively reaching out and understanding the unique needs and contexts of underrepresented groups. This community-centric approach enables support providers to design more impactful programmes and initiatives, fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in entrepreneurship.

Power Leadership

Trusting Your Gut and Embracing Diverse Traits: The "Me presents D-STARS - Power Leadership" panel featured inspiring leaders, including Jacqui Hall, Natasha Babar-Evans, Steph Edusei, and Griselda Togobo. They shared invaluable insights on leadership in the entrepreneurial world. Trusting one's intuition, embracing diverse leadership traits, and cultivating compassion were highlighted as key elements of strong leadership. The panellists emphasised the need for taking risks and stepping outside one's comfort zone for personal and professional growth, enabling individuals to unlock their leadership potential.

Strategies for Developing a Diverse Workforce

At Climb23, a panel discussion hosted by Anishka Prasad featured Amina Ahmad, Nikita Thakrar, and Victoria Tomlinson. The panel explored innovative strategies to diversify the talent pipeline in the venture capital industry. They stressed the significance of addressing socioeconomic and age-related barriers to ensure equal opportunities for aspiring professionals. The panellists emphasised the role

In conclusion, Climb23 by D-List highlighted the unique challenges faced by Black founders in the Leeds City Region and surrounding areas, showcased the importance of inclusive leadership, and discussed innovative strategies for building solutions and diversifying workforces across the ecosystem.

Photo credit: Climb23