Entrepreneurship and diversity in the UK: supporting ethnic minority businesses

This Social Market Foundation panel event, run in partnership with the British Business Bank, explored our new report on ethnic minority entrepreneurship in the UK.   

In 2018 there were around a quarter of a million ethnic minority owned businesses employing nearly three million people across Britain. However, despite the importance of ethnic minority businesses to the UK, there are still significant barriers to entrepreneurship facing some ethnic minority groups – which have been exacerbated by coronavirus. These barriers often prevent many ethnic minority-led businesses from reaching their full commercial potential and contributing even more (than they do currently) to the UK’s economic future.

Research from the British Business Bank has found that entrepreneurs from ethnic minority backgrounds face a number of disadvantages in contrast to their white counterparts. Black business owners experience worse outcomes on average, with a median turnover of just £25,000, compared to £35,000 for White business owners. Only 49% of Black entrepreneurs and 53% of Asian and Other Ethnic Minority entrepreneurs meet their non-financial aims in comparison to the nearly 70% of White entrepreneurs. Access to finance, deprivation and education are just some of the reasons cited for these disparities.

So, how can the barriers facing ethnic minority entrepreneurs be addressed and what is the role for government and for financial providers? How can ethnic minority businesses best be supported in the wake of the pandemic? The new SMF briefing note, presented at this event, seeks to answer these questions and put forward a range of suggestions for policymakers.



 Seema Malhotra MP, Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers




 Professor Monder Ram OBE, Director, Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority   Entrepreneurship, Aston University



  Tevin Tobun, CEO, GV Group (Gate Ventures)




 Shanika Amarasekara, Chief Impact Officer, British Business Bank




 Richard Hyde, Senior Researcher, Social Market Foundation





  James Kirkup, Director, Social Market Foundation