A group of London universities have collaborated to launch an initiative to provide funding and support for social venture startups in the city.

The London Social Venture Fund from University College London (UCL) and Queen Mary University of London will provide early funding for startups pursuing a “social goal”. In total, there are 11 London universities involved in the initiative.

The aim of the collaboration between the universities is to combine the resources of the London institutions to establish both an investment fund and a pipeline of ventures from universities in the British capital into the wider entrepreneurial world.

“There’s been an explosion of interest in social ventures in recent years, as academics, students, and indeed all members of university communities are turning to commercial tools to tackle the myriad problems we face in our society,” said Dr Phil Clare, chief executive of Queen Mary Innovation, the university’s tech transfer office.

“Entrepreneurship allows researchers to implement innovative ideas in a new way – whether it’s cleaning up London’s air, developing new medical technology for the NHS, or tackling ingrained poverty.”

One goal of the project is to provide equal funding opportunities to founders from minority backgrounds. According to the fund, social ventures have a higher percentage of female founders than many other startup spaces.

Combined with the innate diversity of London, the fund believes it can support the spread of funding to diverse founder teams.

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