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Why Are Black People Among The Least Likely In Britain To Start A Business?

By Business Desk

Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

Many readers will know the fundamental inequalities of the British business landscape all too well. Even in an age of supposed inequality we still see a huge gulf in terms of pay and opportunities between different wages and genders. The World Economic Forum estimates that the global gender pay gap could still take centuries to close, while it’s an oft-lamented truth that black workers are passed up for promotions or denied opportunities at a disproportionately higher rate than their caucasian counterparts. Black women, in particular are around 40% less likely to receive a promotion at work, despite the numerous infrastructures designed to create equality in the corporate world. 

Image by Lihlelynne via Pixabay

In a climate where opportunities seem frustratingly sparse, one would expect gifted BAME Brits to flock to the world of self-employment, creating their own opportunities. However, the statistics show that this is not the case. In fact, according to a 2016 government racial disparity audit, black Brits are the least likely to go into business for themselves at just 11%. That’s a full 5% less than their white peers.


In this post, we’ll look at some of the potential reasons for this disparity. 

Lack of access to finance?

Whether you’re thinking of starting up a tech company or getting driving instructor training, you need to spend money to achieve your dreams. It’s no coincidence that the majority of Black-owned businesses are in low barrier sectors such as care work, cleaning or the service industry. 

Perhaps banks and business loan companies don’t represent a particularly welcoming environment to many from BAME communities. Fear of rejection is a perfectly understandable and powerful paralytic. Minority applicants may be less likely to approach financiers out of fear of rejection or receiving a lower quality of service based on their race. 

Fear of failure?

Many talented Black employees are passed up for promotion and underrepresented in leadership roles on a regular basis. However, even if an application for promotion is ultimately rejected, at least the employee still gets to carry on in their current job. If they are self-employed, however, and worried about being rejected by a prospective client, this could lead to a potentially crippling loss of income. 

Because nobody explained it as a viable option?

Another key consideration is that simply nobody told talented Black youngsters that entrepreneurship was ever an option. Much less how to create a business plan, apply for funding, establish and market their businesses

Young people gain their expectations of adulthood from the communities that they inhabit. If gifted and intelligent black youngsters are taught about mentoring opportunities and business angels in their area, they might grow up more inclined towards entrepreneurship, or at least acknowledge it as a viable option for them.  

What are we going to do about it?

So, the question remains… what are we, as a society, going to do about this. How can we change the system at a grass roots level? Perhaps the best place to start is by telling our kids (no matter how young) that they can do anything they put their minds to while guiding and supporting them to achieve a career with unlimited potential. 

Why Are Black People Among The Least Likely In Britain To Start A Business?

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