Cornerstone Scale Up Programme 2.0

As the most connected tech community, Level39 currently houses around 180 startups and scaleups in Canary Wharf, having supported hundreds more on their growth journey since its inception in 2013.

In 2019 and now in 2021, we have hosted Cornerstone 2.0, an advanced 9-week programme designed to challenge, connect, and drive the growth of black and diverse founders in the UK. Launched in 2019, the programme is delivered by Cornerstone Partners, a Leading UK-based angel network, which seeks to find rapidly growing pre-seed and seed businesses across the UK.

The programme combines tailored business training from industry leaders and renowned speakers, expert support and coaching to help growth-stage tech ventures accelerate their success.

In 2021, the programme ran for 9 weeks at Level39 from October until December, closing with a final pitch day, also known as ‘Demo Day’ – highlighting some of the best of UK entrepreneurship talent. Demo Day is the perfect opportunity for all participants to present their businesses and tell their story to a room full of potential investors

Quotes from Current Cornerstone 2.0 Scale-Up: Cohort 2021

“I’ve been stretched, inspired and encouraged in equal measure through the Cornerstone programme. It’s felt like a mini-MBA and I feel like they’ve given me the skills to make a step change in the way I run my business” Matt Kepple, Founder, Makerble

“An exceptional forum that offers guidance, mentoring, direction, a remarkable cohort of like-minded aspiring entrepreneurs, a distinguished network of investors, above and beyond, a high-octane session every week with at least one venerable entrepreneur who has done it before!” Neeraj Kumar, Founder, Solenoid Augment Technologies

Level39 Mentors

At Level39 we are fortunate to have a diverse pool of experienced mentors, several of whom we connected to the programme. The Level39 mentors contributed their valuable time, sharing their knowledge, experience and advice with the programme participants.

Quotes from Level39 Mentors

Claire Zhuang, Level39 Mentor and Director at Morgan Stanley, commented, “It has been enjoyable participating in the Cornerstone Programme as a mentor. The Programme is well organised with great communications from Beatrice and Wil. It’s amazing that the platform focuses on black and diverse founders.

I’ve been mentoring a young female founder in the creative area in the Distribution Sector which is a new area for me so I had to do some homework myself while also being able to apply my knowledge and experience with startups and growth in the Financial Services Sector. I’m excited to see the company grow into something more impactful. Would recommend the Programme to anyone who enjoys being a mentor.”


 Michael Berns, Level39 mentor and Director PwC, AI & Fintech, added, “I have been mentoring startups for more a decade, from my early days with entrepreneurs in developing countries for the Cherie Blair Foundation to highly specialised RegTechs for some Chinese PE Funds. What I really enjoy about the Cornerstone programme was its focus on black and diverse entrepreneurs. This allowed me to reconnect to my early experiences as mentor but also my time in London, the great multicultural hub. In that sense I am very excited to see my matched startup progress through different approaches and getting ever closer to understanding its potential clients and reducing risks along the way. A great inspirational journey!”

Cornerstone accomplishments to date…

  • Over 100 founders have enrolled on Cornerstone 2.0, hailed as the first and most impactful black and diverse accelerator program in Europe.
  • Cornerstone Partners has committed £1.3m into exceptional black and diverse founders including founders who have graduated through our scale up programme.
  • Commissioned a groundbreaking research report that has received over 2,500 downloads, which emphasises how social capital and networks play a fundamental role in addressing the equity gap.

Find out more about Cornerstone here.


Related Posts