• Thursday, June 20, 2024

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Sadiq Khan endorses London Chamber’s report on curbing barriers for minority-led businesses

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

London mayor Sadiq Khan has publicly accepted the recommendations made by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (LCCI) report on removal of ethnicity-based obstacles hurting success in business. His endorsement of ‘Ethnic Diversity in Business: Removing barriers impeding business success’ is the first-ever instance of a public authority recognising the significance of the report and its recommendations. Khan’s remarks came in response to questioning from Hina Bokhari AM, chair of the London assembly’s Economy Committee.

The report speaks in detail about the hurdles that many minority ethnic-owned businesses face due to racism and factors related to it, a press release from the Chamber said.

In the words of the Chamber’s Asian Business Association chair, Tony Matharu, and the Black Business Association chair, Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick CBE, “While an increasing trend of people from ethnic minority-led backgrounds operating hugely successful businesses (as well as in high growth sectors) continues to emerge, many of them are being held back due to several factors, including stereotyping and outdated perceptions of the businesses which others feel ethnic minorities should run”.

The report highlights the need for more robust data gathering and research on ethnic minority-led businesses and the requirement for strategic engagement between, and concerted efforts from, the government, the business community and people from all backgrounds.

Among the various recommendations that the report has highlighted, are:

  • Better data collection is needed to improve understanding of the ethnic minority led business landscape and to identify and address the differences between ethnic sub-groups;
  • Banks and financial institutions should review their lending practices and eliminate requirements that place unnecessary hurdles in the path of ethnic minority owned businesses;
  • Steps should be taken across the public and private sectors to address negative perceptions amongst ethnic business communities about taking on debt and improving trust in the availability of financial support through targeted campaigns;
  • A dedicated government taskforce should be convened to establish effective measures to boost the inclusion of ethnic minority-led businesses in public procurement

In response to the report’s recommendations, Khan pledged that his deputy mayor for business, Rajesh Agrawal, and officials within his economic development unit, will work with the LCCI to identify areas where they can support impact.

The mayor also observed that the report’s four key conclusions relate to the following:

  • Better data collection to improve understanding of the ethnic minority led business landscape;
  • Elimination by banks of unnecessary hurdles in the path of ethnic minority owned businesses;
  • Addressing negative perceptions amongst ethnic business communities about taking on debt and improving trust in the availability of financial support through targeted campaigns;
  • Convening of a Government taskforce to boost the inclusion of ethnic minority-led businesses in public procurement

He also said that the report’s findings mirror other reports carried out by the British Business Bank, Diversity UK, Extended Ventures, that use data to raise awareness of the barriers faced by entrepreneurs from minority ethnic groups.

Richard Burge, chief executive of LCCI, said, “We are delighted that the mayor of London has declared his support for our Ethnic Diversity in Business report and its recommendations which are critical to ensuring that the barriers and discrimination ethnic minority businesses face are overcome.

“In order to unleash the potential of everyone, irrespective of their background, and to maximise the outstanding economic contribution that ethnically diverse businesses make to the UK economy it is vital that businesses, authorities and government work collectively. LCCI looks forward to working with the mayor of London and the deputy mayor for business to ensure that the recommendations of the Ethnic Diversity in Business report are implemented.”

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