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Minorities within the Minority: the fragmented ecosystem of the UK’s minority business owners trying to scale

In a reassuringly uplifting piece of research, the annual Time Out Index survey of world cities has revealed that London tops the poll when it comes to how diverse locals see their hometown as being. An astonishing 88 percent of London respondents in the survey described the capital as ‘diverse’. The sentiment is supported by c.40% of the city identifying as an ethnic minority. As assumed, the degree of diversity present in local communities is in turn reflected in the professional arena, with the UK’s ethnic minority-owned business (EMB) encompassing a vast range of cultures. In turn, the specific counsel and guidance needed for EMB’s to successfully scale varies greatly. However, whilst applying the term “ethnic minority” as a catch-all, the true state of play for the ecosystem of people of colour in business is in fact just as fragmented, yet evidently not supported in an equally nuanced manner. `

To reinforce this notion, a new report from The Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship outlined 10 steps to transform support for ethnic minority owned businesses by broadening policy agendas for inclusive growth, productivity and innovation. QU – a business consultancy for minority and female founded businesses – says the report highlights crucial imbalances that hinder nurturing a more inclusive business arena, and further argues that counsel for founders of colour must be representative of the respective communities from which they hail from. In doing so, the report stated that additional support for the full scale of ethnic minority founded businesses could grow the British economy by £75bn.

Additionally, a study by the British Business Bank found a widening gap in access to finance for ethnic minorities has led 49% of PoC entrepreneurs to stop working on their business idea, halting a wave of growth potential from entering the market. To reverse this tide, QU focus on informing and guiding ethnic minority business owners to the right places to source capital, with simple actions that will increase the probability of securing finance – such as improving credit-scoring and devising financial models.