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Huge boost for vegan trainers brand worn by Leonardo DiCaprio and Princess Eugenie

LØCI models wear shoes loved by Leonardo DiCaprio and Princess Eugenie    (LØCI )
LØCI models wear shoes loved by Leonardo DiCaprio and Princess Eugenie (LØCI )

A fashion brand making trainers from recycled bamboo is one of five black-owned businesses Lloyds Bank and Channel 4 have awarded £500,000 in TV advertising.

Co-founder Emmanuel Eribo’s vegan and sustainable footwear is worn by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lily James, Princess Eugenie, Eva Longoria, Ben Affleck and Olivia Wilde.

Hollywood actor and environmentalist DiCaprio, 48, invested $4.5 million (£3.61m) in ethical company LØCI which also makes trainers by recycling plastic bottles, foam and rubber.

Eribo, 40, from Kensal Rise, founded the firm in 2021 with three other Londoners and achieved seven-figure sales within their first year. LØCI has expanded into 26 countries.

Lloyds and Channel 4 joined forces to offer “game-changing” support to black-owned businesses.

Five firms will receive £100,000 worth of free airtime each and a TV commercial made for them which will air in early 2024.

The other four winners picked from 1,000 applicants are:

Entrepreneur Mark Dalgety’s Dalgety Herbal Teas, which supports small farming communities in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.

East Londoner Segun Akinwoleola’s clean eating range The Gym Kitchen, which is sold in Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.

Enfield businesswoman Jamelia Donaldson of TreasureTress (Black In Business)
Enfield businesswoman Jamelia Donaldson of TreasureTress (Black In Business)

Ex-Arsenal and Reading footballer Thomas Robson-Kanu’s The Turmeric Co, a clinically-backed herbal shots business.

Enfield businesswoman Jamelia Donaldson’s TreasureTress, a subscription box business for naturally textured hair types.

After the death of George Floyd in May 2000 and the Black Lives Matter movement, Lloyds and Channel 4 looked at the challenges faced by black entrepreneurs.

Nearly half of the businessmen and women they surveyed said they needed marketing and PR advice and a fifth help to find new clients.

Elyn Corfield, CEO of business and commercial finance at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “We are thrilled to announce the beneficiaries of the Black in Business initiative.

“The impressive number of applications speaks to the remarkable entrepreneurs who applied, highlighting the vast breadth and potential of black entrepreneurship in the country.

“This initiative builds on our commitment to support black-owned businesses and marks significant progress towards our long-term goal of creating equity for black-owned businesses.”

Segun Akinwoleola owns clean eating range The Gym Kitchen (Black in Business)
Segun Akinwoleola owns clean eating range The Gym Kitchen (Black in Business)

Clare Peters, of Channel 4, added: “Devising and running this important scheme has been an absolute privilege for the team, who are often at the forefront of providing platforms for lesser-heard voices.

“When our research highlighted the obstacles faced by black-owned businesses, we wanted to make a tangible difference by offering practical support to directly target some of the issues.

“It is our sincere hope that this scheme kickstarts wider awareness of the challenges faced and prompts action across the industry to deliver more equal opportunities for all entrepreneurs and business owners regardless of their background and ethnicity.

“I’m absolutely delighted for the five successful beneficiaries of this year’s scheme, and we’re looking forward to working with them to create five epic TV campaigns that supercharge the growth of their businesses.”