Black Business Residency

Developed in partnership with DOES and sponsored by Morgan Stanley, the Black Business Residency (formerly known as the Black Business Incubator) at Somerset House aims to help early-stage Black entrepreneurs unlock their full potential and allow their creative enterprises to thrive. This year our programme is also supported by M&C Saatchi Group.

The hybrid (in-person and virtual) programme provides participants with monthly expert-led masterclasses, mentorship from industry specialists, free access to a co-working space, as well as a variety of community events. This is because we believe entrepreneurial success relies on being part of a supportive and inclusive creative community.

What is the Black Business Residency?

This twelve-month programme provides a combination of co-working and project space as part of Somerset House’s extensive creative community. BBR Members will also benefit from mentorship and interactive masterclasses led by leading professionals in the creative industries.

The programme builds on the success of Mentor Black Business, combined with Somerset House's creative ecosystem and networks. The Black Business Residency is part of Somerset House's wider Anti-Racism Pledge.


Are you an ambitious creative entrepreneur who is motivated to level up your business skills to create sustainable growth? The Black Business Residency, sponsored by Morgan Stanley, aims to support Black founders of early-stage businesses that have an impactful creative idea that embraces innovation, pushes boundaries, and uses new ways of thinking. 

We welcome you to apply if you:

  • Identify as Black or Mixed-race, and are based in the UK.
  • Have launched a business within the UK that is older than 2 years.
  • Operate within the creative sector: this includes fashion, film, media, design, photography, gaming, marketing and advertising.
  • Are motivated to gain skills and knowledge to help you grow a profitable and sustainable business.
  • Are passionate about building your network and engaging in a 6-month mentor relationship.
  • Are of any age.


Applications are currently closed.


Over a 12-month period this free programme will provide creatives business with:

  • Access to 12-month mentorship from industry specialists
  • Access to personal and professional development through monthly skill-building events and masterclasses
  • Access to 12 months free co-working space (with subsidised rates for the second year) and bookable meeting space at Somerset House
  • Access to business opportunities through the wider Somerset House resident community

As part of the 12-month programme, you will benefit from free interactive masterclasses, mentorship and workspace, worth a value of £7,200. The successful cohort will have access to hot-desking space at Somerset House to help participants fuel their business creativity and build a network within the Somerset House community.


Somerset House is home to the UK’s largest creative community. We are a new blueprint for arts and culture, backing progress, championing openness, nurturing creativity and empowering ideas.

When it comes to diversity, we seek to be an agent of change across our cultural programmes, our resident community and within the cultural sector. However, we are not complacent and recognise that much more is needed to create a truly inclusive creative community in the UK.

For this reason, we have partnered with Mentor Black Business to provide Black businesses with the foundation to unlock their own value and realise their own potential.

The first cohort of 15 entrepreneurs joined the Residency in May 2021. Following this, with support from STRIDE, the second cohort of 35 Black-led businesses joined the Residency in January 2022, the third cohort of 15 businesses joined the Residency in September 2022. 

As a part of Somerset House’s Anti-Racism Pledge, we believe that by using our resources, community and space, together we can make systematic and practical change to the Black creative community in the UK.

Cohort 1

Meet the members of the first cohort of the Black Business Residency, who started the programme in May 2021.


Cohort 2

Meet the members of the second cohort of the Black Business Residency, who started the programme in January 2022.

Cohort 3

Meet the members of the third cohort of the Black Business Residency, who started in October 2022.


Cohort 4

Meet the members of the fourth cohort of the Black Business Residency, who started in June 2023.


Cohort 5

Meet the members of the fifth cohort of the Black Business Residency, who started in 2024.

“The programme has further empowered me to feel confidence in my business skills. Being in an office environment gives me a clearer head to think, feel relaxed and work. The opportunity to network with other BBR companies is invaluable and motivationally enriching.” 

Akosua Boakye, AkomaAsa Performing Arts, Cohort 1

“Having access to Somerset House was just priceless and meeting new people in the same field.” 

Mimine Agbantou, MIMINE AG, Cohort 1

“I like the workspace and the chance to be part of the big organisation of Somerset House. I think being part of BBR at Somerset House gives more credibility to my company. Just the mention that your workspace is in Somerset house changes perceptions and can win more business.” 

Annastazia Stansilous Temu, Views 4D, Cohort 2

‘The programme has given me a strong network and the confidence to continue with my business’ 

Kalungi Ssebandeke, Ensi Talent Group, Cohort 2

The Black Business Residency is sponsored by

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