Morgan Stanley Targets EMEA with Multicultural Innovation Lab Expansion

Research shows that ethnic minority and female founders face persistent disparities in business outcomes, with systemic disadvantages, such as differences in access to capital, playing a key role.

Morgan Stanley has expanded its Multicultural Innovation Lab in London to operate across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) from the beginning of 2022.

The lab is an accelerator programme that targets companies with women or ethnic-minority founders that have the potential to develop technology solutions.

The launch for EMEA is designed to run in parallel and enhance the global initiative launched in the US in 2017. Morgan Stanley is targeting an inaugural EMEA Lab cohort of five startups and has earmarked investments of £200,000 in each, representing a total commitment of £1 million for the inaugural year of the planned multi-year programme.

“Establishing a platform in London giving access to critical advice, experience and funding to women- and minority-owned enterprises is not only something we are well-positioned to offer, but also allows us to address a significant market inefficiency,” says Clare Woodman, Morgan Stanley’s head of EMEA and co-sponsor of the EMEA Lab.

According to the bank, research shows that ethnic minority and female founders face persistent disparities in business outcomes, with systemic disadvantages, such as differences in access to capital, playing a key role. Over the last 10 years, less than 3% of the venture capital funds invested in the UK went to teams of all-female founders and less than 2% to teams of all-ethnic minority founders.

The Multicultural Innovation Lab wants to make the situation better by providing investments in early-stage companies, Morgan Stanley mentors & advisers and external industry experts.

Each lab is expected to run over a five-month period, culminating in a Demo Day, during which all participants can present to a network of investors who could help provide capital and cultivate partnerships to help with development.

Since it was launched in the US in 2017, more than 50 startups have participated in the accelerator programme and have since gone on to raise over $80 million (£58.7 million) in additional funding.

The global team is led by Morgan Stanley vice chairman and managing director Carla Harris and MD Alice Vilma. Together, they have over 50 years of equity syndicate, investment banking, capital markets and structured finance experience.

The EMEA Lab will begin taking participant applications from January 2022, with the first cohort of five startups starting the accelerator programme from August in Morgan Stanley’s EMEA headquarters in Canary Wharf, London.

More info about the lab is available here.

Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton is the Editor of eWeek UK and has 17 years' journalism and writing experience. His career has taken him to China, Japan and the UK - covering tech, fintech and business. Follow on Twitter @TonyFintech.

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