Business Start-ups

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons am ar 15 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Climate Change and Net Zero)

What steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to encourage more people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities to start up a business.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

The Government have worked to advance equality of access to start-up opportunities, irrespective of social background or race. We have a range of business support programmes and Government-backed financial support through Help to Grow: Management, growth hubs and the British Business Bank. The success of our endeavours to engage and support diverse business leaders can be seen in the data. In 2023, 44% of the 30,000 people in England helped by the business support helpline were from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Climate Change and Net Zero)

I thank the Minister for that response, although I found it a little difficult to hear. Bristol has a thriving and entrepreneurial Somali community, but one of the things they constantly come across is almost an expectation that they will set up businesses that serve just their community, rather than being part of mainstream regeneration efforts and the general commercial life of the city. What is the Equalities department doing to try to ensure that those people can make that breakthrough from just being community-based projects?

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

It is interesting that a number of people have that perception that they should stay in their lane. This Government do not support any sort of activity that is segregationist. We believe that we must treat people equally under the law. All of our access programmes are available irrespective of ethnicity. People should be encouraged to serve the entire community, not just people who look and sound like them. Some of the schemes that I mentioned in my earlier answer are available. The hon. Lady should know that the Start Up Loans Company reported that in her constituency 42 start-up loans were issued to ethnic minority-led start-ups, for about £315,000, so there are opportunities out there. I am happy to write to her with more information if she needs it.