The British Business Bank, the UK’s economic development bank, has been commissioned by Number 10 to convene an industry-wide Working Group on Access to Capital, which will explore the barriers to entrepreneurship and access to finance that impact groups currently marginalised or under-represented across the UK.
The recommendations will feed into the ‘Employment and Enterprise’ sub-group as part of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, set up by the Prime Minister in July 2020 to review inequality in the UK. In addition to employment and enterprise, the Commission’s sub-groups will focus on education, health and the criminal justice system.
Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO, British Business Bank said: “Creating more opportunities for people from all walks of life to make the most of their skills and talent is vital to the success of the UK and its economy.
“Entrepreneurs, regardless of their background, should be equally welcomed and supported in the world of business. However, who the person is and how they fit in to the society around them can too often impact the range of options open to them as well as the barriers they face.”
The Working Group draws upon expertise from the entrepreneurial, academic, investor, start-up and small business banking communities to shine a light on these issues. It will make tangible recommendations to the Commission and Number 10 on how to create more equality of opportunity for the UK’s Black, Asian and Other Ethnic Minority entrepreneurs.
The Working Group is comprised of leading experts from across the financial sector and is chaired by Henry Obi, Partner at Helios Investment Partners.
Recommendations from the Working Group will be delivered by the end of October 2020 and will be practical, deliverable, and grounded in evidence. The Working Group will consider the ways in which existing access to finance schemes could be enhanced, as well as how new schemes could be implemented to address these issues. They will call on a range of organisations to act, including central and local government, the British Business Bank, financial services providers, universities to the private sector.
In addition, the British Business Bank has undertaken a significant research project and will publish the findings in its report, Alone together: Entrepreneurship and diversity in the UK later this month. This new report shows in detail the challenges facing the UK’s entrepreneurs. Looking at ethnicity, gender, place and money, a sobering picture emerges that calls for commitment and action and it will inform the Working Group’s response to the Commission.