According to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s 2013 report, there are high entrepreneurial aspirations within the UK’s Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) communities. 35% of Black Africans and 28% of Black Caribbeans would like to start a business, compared with only 10% of their White British counterparts. Existing BME businesses in the UK are highly successful, contributing £25 billion to the economy, as are SME’s led by women, which contribute £70bn to GVA according to the 2013 Women’s Business Council report.
There is a wide range of business support and sources of finance available, but it’s clear that much more needs to be done to help both women-led and BME businesses identify and access the right resources that will enable their businesses to launch, innovate and grow.
In March, NatWest brought together leaders from some of the UK’s biggest financial institutions, government officials and business support organisations to identify actions to be taken to unlock the true potential of London’s diverse businesses.
Joining as keynote speaker, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “London’s economy is really starting to take off and I want people from every community in London to share in the success that our city will continue to enjoy. We are lengthening our lead as the greatest capital city on earth and it is absolutely right that entrepreneurs from all backgrounds get the opportunity to play their part in shaping London’s future.”
In November, a follow up session at the British Bankers Association saw a panel of leaders from NatWest, the BBA and award winning SMEs explore how businesses led by women and black and minority ethnic communities can become better informed and inspired to overcome the obstacles to aid the start-up, growth and sustainability of their ventures.
NatWest has a network of over 220 externally accredited Women in Business specialists across the UK offering specialist support, practical guidance and networking opportunities to female entrepreneurs.
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