One of the largest employers in Glasgow's financial services district is doubling the size of a programme to support start-up companies led by women and founders from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

Global investment bank Morgan Stanley is looking to identify 10 early-stage businesses from applicants across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in 2023 to take part in its Inclusive Ventures Lab (MSIVL). Glasgow is being specifically targeted in this second year of the EMEA programme based on its "fertile start-up sector" and "established base of diverse entrepreneurs".

“Having been here for over 20 years, Morgan Stanley knows that right across Scotland there are determined and inspirational people with great business ideas," said Vida Rudkin, head of Morgan Stanley in Glasgow.

"We believe the MSIVL is a proven, unrivalled opportunity to overcome the barriers faced by many of our most promising entrepreneurs, to participate as part of a truly international cohort of like-minded people and ultimately transform the growth prospects for their businesses.”

The Herald: Vida Ruskin, head of Morgan Stanley in GlasgowVida Ruskin, head of Morgan Stanley in Glasgow (Image: Morgan Stanley)

Participants will take part in a five-month programme which is open to applications for the next six weeks.Thereafter will follow a process to determine the final 10 members of the 2023 cohort.

Originally known as the Multicultural Innovation Lab, the programme started in the US in 2017 in response to critical research showing that ethnically diverse and female founders face systematic disadvantages, particularly when accessing capital.

According to industry research, less than three per cent of venture capital funds invested in the UK in the last 10 years went to teams of all-female founders. Less than 2% went to teams of multicultural founders.

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“The experience of this programme to date has been inspirational in demonstrating the strong pipeline of women and minority entrepreneurs and the critical importance of dedicated growth capital and access to strategic advice and mentorship," said Sanghamitra Karra, managing director and head of MSIVL EMEA.

"Following the success of the 2022 programme, we are very excited to double our efforts in the region and invest in up to ten high-growth companies founded by entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds.”

Participants benefit from equity investment from Morgan Stanley, as well as access to mentors and advisers both from within the bank and externally.

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The programme culminates in a Demo Day, where firms present to a network of investors brought together from across Morgan Stanley’s global networks. These investors can help provide further capital and cultivate strategic partnerships as businesses continue to develop.

In the past five years, 69 companies from the US and EMEA have participated in the programme, going on to raise more than $150 million (£123m) in additional funding.

US-headquartered Morgan Stanley set up its Scottish office in 2000 with six people in Cumbernauld as part of a strategy to find additional talent outside of London. The operation moved to Glasgow’s city centre in 2002 with staff providing back-end support for investment trading.

Now consolidated into a single office within the international financial services district, Morgan Stanley Glasgow has 2,200 employees working across the group’s technology, finance, fund services, legal and compliance, HR, corporate services and internal audit divisions.