5 Nov 2009 08:33 AM
Government Response to Ethnic Minority Business and Women’s Enterprise Task Force Recommendations

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 05 November 2009

“We can’t afford to waste any business talent”, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said today as he launched new measures to ensure women and ethnic minority business people have the support and confidence to maximise their business potential.

The actions follow recommendations by the Ethnic Minority Business Task Force and the Women’s Enterprise Taskforce.

Confidence, in particular, was outlined as a critical issue in changing the mindset of potential women and ethnic minority entrepreneurs to establish and grow their business.

The new measures focus on further developing support in critical areas such as business support, access to finance, procurement opportunities, advocacy and data. They include:

· Supporting and catalyzing female entrepreneurship across the country through the establishment of:

­ a Women’s Enterprise Champion in each of the regions to encourage more women to start their own enterprises and to advise Ministers

­ a new industry-led Women’s Enterprise Forum to increase GVA growth through women entrepreneurs

· A new Ethnic Minority Business Advocacy Network, which will be led by the Regional Development Agencies, to provide a single strategic voice on ethnic minority businesses across the UK

· A commitment between major high street banks to continue to improve the routes to business finance for women and ethnic-minority entrepreneurs

· Increasing the data available on women’s and ethnic minority enterprises to provide evidence for advocacy and policy

SMEs represent 99.9% of Britain’s business community with ethnic minority SMEs making up around 7 per cent and contributing an estimated £20 billion to the UK economy per year. Women-led SMEs represent 15%, contributing £45 billion to GVA per year. However, if women started businesses at the same rate as men there would be an extra 150,000 business created.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said:

“Broadening participation in enterprise is vital to tackling the economic and social challenges the UK faces today. For Britain to emerge from the downturn in the strongest position, we need all of our talented people to maximise their business potential.

“We are committed to ensuring that those under-represented in business are given every opportunity to turn their ideas and aspirations into successful enterprises.”

James Caan, Co-Chair of the Ethnic Minority Business Task Force said:

“Great businesses can start with the single idea of a potential entrepreneur. Ensuring the voices of all entrepreneurs are heard is vital – whether that is raising views with government or talking to business mentors for advice and inspiration. Both are key to growing a successful business."

Women's Enterprise Task Force co-Chairs Pam Alexander and Glenda Stone said:

"We welcome the Government's endorsement of our analysis and work. The Women's Enterprise Task Force believes that a number of clear and urgent actions are required in the UK to monitor and drive growth in women's enterprise. Such actions would leverage greater contributions to the economy and assist the UK to be far more competitive on the global stage.”

The RDAs will play a key role in bringing the recommendations to life.

Bryan Jackson, Chairman of East Midlands Development (emda) said:

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the case for boosting the levels of enterprise from women and ethnic minority businesses is clear. This is why, as a family, the Regional Development Agencies have come together and pooled resources to increase the diversity of our business base.

"I am also very aware of the pressures and pitfalls, highs and lows, of creating a successful business. As the lead Regional Development Agency for Enterprise, we at emda are delighted to be at the forefront of policy making on this agenda, to help deliver the support that these budding entrepreneurs require."

For more information please contact Fiona Cameron in the BIS Press office on 020 7215 5978, fiona.cameron@bis.gsi.gov.uk

Notes to Editors

1. The Government's responses to the Task Force reports can be read at:

Women’s Enterprise Task Force: www.berr.gov.uk/files/file53444.pdf

Ethnic Minority Business Task Force: www.berr.gov.uk/files/file53440.pdf

2. The Prime Minister announced the proposal to set up the Women’s Enterprise Task Force in his Pre Budget Report in December 2005. It was established, and classified by the Cabinet Office, as an Ad Hoc Advisory body in November 2006 for a fixed period of up to three years. Its remit was set as providing high profile leadership to accelerate women’s enterprise development. It is chaired by Pam Alexander (CEO, SEEDA) and Glenda Stone (CEO, Aurora). www.womensenterprisetaskforce.co.uk

3. The Ethnic Minority Business Task Force was set up in November 2007 by Margaret Hodge as an ad hoc advisory body to advise Government on promoting ethnic minority led business in the UK. It was jointly funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Yorkshire Forward and concluded its work in July 2009. Task Force members comprised entrepreneurs, academia and representatives from the public and private sectors. Co-chairs were Tom Riordan, CEO, Yorkshire Forward and James Caan, from “Dragons Den” and CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw (a private equity firm). www.embtf.org.uk

4. The Enterprise Champions will be volunteers and will work alongside the RDAs, enhancing the existing women’s enterprise ambassador network, meeting the recommendation (number 5) of the Task Force. Their role will also include encouraging more women entrepreneurs to feel confident in engaging with media opportunities; catalyse women’s enterprise networks within the regions; and supporting the Child Poverty Unit in their drive to empower more women from low income families into employment, including self-employment.

5. The Women’s Enterprise Task Force propose that the Women’s Enterprise Forum will focus on increasing the market of higher-growth women’s businesses, focussing on issues such as international growth, increased financial backing and access to technology. It will consist of some 20 high-end experienced female entrepreneurs nominated through, and representing member bodies such as the CBI, BCC, IOD, FSB etc. It will be led, funded and managed by the private sector.

6. The Ethnic Minority Business Advocacy Network will provide a strategic voice for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic businesses and will support RDAs in developing clear lines of communication with representative organisations enabling better evidence-based policy formation.

7. The statement from the Banks will be available at www.bis.gov.uk

Department for Business, Innovation &amp; Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


BIS Press Office