The commitment by Black Business Network and our partners, Lloyds Bank and Savanta, to produce three consecutive annual reports was and is an active acknowledgement of the persistent difficulties Black business owners in the UK are facing.
Our 2021 Black. British. In Business & Proud study was a fact-finding mission to understand the challenges and barriers that Black entrepreneurs are facing and the potential ways forward that would enable them to grow and thrive. The findings were unfortunately not surprising but a stark reminder of the pervasive way that race, discrimination and inequality continue to cause an economic divide and hinder progress for ethnic minorities. As a result, our findings in 2021 led to 10 recommendations as a charter for action.
This year, our focus was to assess the impact of barriers Black entrepreneurs said they were facing, such as discrimination, racism and concern about equal access to opportunities. We also wanted to measure the positive impact of the recommendations and actions we started to implement following last year’s findings. Part of our responsibility as community-centred support is to investigate and communicate the barriers that continue to prevent the financial growth and stability of Black businesses. We are aware that no singular action ororganisation will solve these problems, but we continue to commit to collaboration and taking action.
Our goal, following a period of reflection internally as an organisation and listening to the voices of those most affected by racial inequality, is to sustain our continuous efforts to work closely with those that are part of a bigger institutional structure. A significant share of our resources is dedicated to creating institutional and systemic change. We know that our plan is ambitious, and we have to be prepared to navigate barriers as we go, working collaboratively with other organisations and institutions, welcoming change and sharing our ambitions.
We want to be clear about what we expect organisational transformation to look like. The last year has given us confidence that change can happen when working with committed partners, and we want to double down on those efforts. We value partners that are open about their shortcomings and historical failings; organisations that answer with integrity when faced with important questions about the road ahead to achieve change.
We understand the importance of inviting diverse voices to these conversations if we are ever to truly understand – and more importantly, repair, the breakdown in trust with people from marginalised communities. We acknowledge, without question, that Black communities have been failed by institutions in a way that continues to reverberate through the social, epistemic and economic disparities we see, contributing to the wealth gap today.
This year’s report is titled ‘United in Purpose’, calling for more effective collaboration between the Black business community, financial institutions, government and wider society. We must align our actions with the values and interests of the Black business community to truly create change for Black entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom.
Our mission is to create an ecosystem and an equitable model of business support. In order to achieve this, we must recognise the strength in building partnerships and creating collaborative environments. We must be united in our actions if we are ever going to build a better future for the Black business community; we all have a part to play.
Black Business Network