One million of the 6 million businesses in the UK are owned by ethnic minority businesspeople. They generate around £74 billion for the UK economy each year and employ about 3 million workers.
This is a phenomenal output, but Minority Businesses Matter, a new report by OPEN for MSDUK, shows that minority entrepreneurs succeed against the odds, and face constant challenges to setting up and scaling up their businesses.
The report says these challenges include direct and indirect discrimination; disconnection from key financial, business, and political networks; and disproportionate levels of doubt. While these challenges hold many minority businesses back, minority entrepreneurs also have particular strengths, notably their drive to succeed, determination to overcome challenges and diversity of skills, perspectives, experiences, and contacts.
When I took a look at the 2021 Black History Month site and saw that the theme is Proud to Be….. but didn’t find a section for businesses, that seemed remiss. All small businesses in the UK, including minority small firms, do so much for the UK economy, and provide skills, talent, services, and products across the whole range of business sectors in the UK.
Minority Businesses Matter says one of the key requirements is more help with procurement. The call is for large businesses, starting with FTSE 100 leading companies and multinationals with UK operations, to make public their annual spending on procurement from minority businesses and commit to establishing or enhancing their supplier diversity programmes.
Government and public sector bodies are also called on to take the lead in integrating supplier diversity into their procurement strategies, including the tender and contracting processes.
In addition, there’s a call for anti-racism training to try to change perceptions of people from minorities, and for government, businesses and other organisations to put in place rigorous processes to address discrimination in their recruitment, promotion, procurement, investment and other business decisions.
There are 7 other recommendations in a report that makes very interesting reading: https://www.minoritybusinessesmatter.org/ – you can download the full report here.
MSDUK brings together innovative and high-growth Ethnic Minority owned businesses with global corporations, committed to creating a diverse supply chain. https://www.msduk.org.uk/