Amazon is a Platinum Patron of The Prince’s Trust and a founding partner of the charity’s new Strengthening Diversity Fund. Amazon has pledged £1 million to the fund over the next four years and will work together with The Prince’s Trust to break down barriers to support and empower the workforce of the future with the skills needed to succeed.

At the Black Employee Network (BEN) UK Ops summit, BEN members from across the country got together to celebrate their amazing colleagues for the BENtastic awards.

The Strengthening Diversity Fund is focused on supporting young people facing persistent social inequalities, including young women, young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, and young refugees.

Amazon has supported The Prince’s Trust since 2020, and has already donated over £700,000 to assist the charity in its mission to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds stay in education, gain employment, learn new skills, and set up their own businesses.

“Creating opportunities for employment and skills development are two of the most important ways that businesses can contribute to society,” said John Boumphrey, Amazon UK Country Manager. “The Prince’s Trust, with its focus on education, employment, and entrepreneurship, is a natural partner for us and we’re delighted to help them create even more opportunities for young people. Together, we will help more young people fulfil their potential, and build better and fairer futures for the next generation.”

Attendees look around The Black Founders' Marketplace, hosted at Amazon's London Office

How Amazon supports black business owners

To kickstart this endeavour, Amazon hosted a Black Founders’ Marketplace in collaboration with The Prince’s Trust. The three-day event brought a range of Black-owned businesses together at our Shoreditch office to take part in masterclasses on marketing, raising capital, elevator pitching, and growing a business on Amazon.

The marketplace was also an opportunity for the businesses to sell their products to the thousands of employees working in Amazon’s London office and increase their brand awareness. At the end of the event, attendees got the chance to network and listen to a fireside chat about Black entrepreneurship with representatives from The Prince’s Trust, Amazon, and other successful Black business owners.

Lauren Le Franc, who founded The Little Coffee Company, currently sells her products on Amazon. She was excited to connect with other Black entrepreneurs at the event.

Amazon is helping small businesses owners streamline the procurement of their office supplies, helping them focus on the tasks that matter most to them.

“I’m happy to be invited to the Black Founders’ Marketplace,” Lauren said. “Amazon has really opened doors for us to come together, and it’s been great talking to other people and realising we’re all facing the same struggles. It’s so important to have a community and learn from other businesses.”

Supporting future Amazon sellers

The day was also a valuable opportunity for those businesses not yet selling on Amazon to learn from industry experts.

Patrick Adom founded children’s toy manufacturer Very Puzzled to help his 11-year-old daughter understand and embrace her culture: “We want to make sure everyone feels seen, whether you’re from Grenada or Ghana.”

The Black Founders’ Marketplace was the perfect place to share this message. “Networking with other business owners is really fulfilling,” Patrick told us. “We heard great talks from experts at Amazon, and got to network with key executives.”

Bianca Frimpong, founder of home decor and self-care brand B Sweet Gifts, has been through The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme and had a similarly positive experience at the Black Founders’ Marketplace. “It’s been really informative,” she said, “I learned a lot about how to get up and running with selling on Amazon, and I’ve made some great contacts."

In addition to the Black Founders’ Marketplace, Amazon will continue to provide mentorship opportunities for young people, and lead a range of employee fundraising activities for The Prince’s Trust, including AWS’ Cloud Cup and the Million Makers challenge.

Read more about how Amazon supports small businesses.