Morgan Stanley has unveiled an innovation lab with the aim of promoting diversity top of the agenda.

According to the Financial Times, which has seen an application form, a four-month programme will begin in July and end in a symposium that will “expose companies to potential investors through showcase presentations”.

The FT says any start-up with seed funding can apply, as long as they have a “multicultural” or female founder, chief technology officer or other member of the C-suite. The bank is targeting four or five companies for its first phase, building up to ten to 15 over time.

Successful applicants will get $200,000 in investment, in the form of equity or convertible notes; some space at the bank’s global headquarters in New York; support from the bank’s network of potential customers; and “impactful content relevant to company growth and scale”. Winners will be notified within the next couple of weeks.

Alice Vilma, executive director of Morgan Stanley’s multicultural client strategy committee, says: “We’ve seen a lot of the rhetoric around the gap between the ability to access capital for multicultural entrepreneurs and women, especially outside of Silicon Valley.

“If companies are scalable, bankable and investable, and if the only thing they lack is access to capital and networks, we’ll provide that, with early-stage growth capital.”

Morgan Stanley ranks fourth among the big US banks by number of fintech investments, according to CB Insights, behind Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase.

If you’re interested in the European scene, then as Banking Technology reported a few days ago, these banks are placing strategic bets in areas ranging from wealth management, lending, payments, regulatory technology, software, and blockchain, according to CB Insights.