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View from The Voice: Why we must support black businesses

SUPPORT: Black businesses (Photo credit: YouTube)

ENCOURAGING EACH other to support black owned business is not just a nice idea - it’s something that is crucially important.

It’s not hard to nd examples of other communities of people who work largely to support each other.

The Jewish community has long been active in its support of Jewish businesses.

The same is true for the Asian community.

Despite what some critics might say, this is not a mirror image or unsophisticated response to white racism. This is also true for Arabs and Asians. Racist? Hardly.

Its survival of one’s culture in the predominant culture. Nor is this support about rejecting mainstream marketing. Despite educational and income gains, black Britons are still playing catch-up to other groups in the UK in areas such as earnings, employment and education.

So trying to close that gap means working, sup- porting and developing resources in and for our community. Given the widening wealth gap between people from black and minority ethnic communities and others it’s important to spread the message that we should invest in our future by encouraging each other to set up businesses, support each other when we do and prepare our youth for careers as entrepreneurs.

If we seriously want to improve our situation, we must strengthen our collective economic position. And this means working cooperatively. It also means that the standard of success for black-owned businesses must be about increasing the quality of community rather than increasing the bank balance.

As statistics would highlight, the potential is there. There are approximately 16,000 businesses owned by people of black African and Caribbean descent in London, making up four per cent of all businesses in the capital. A further 27,000 black Londoners are self-employed; up by 80 per cent over the past decade.

We must learn to harness this economic power by redirecting the wealth we already have access to and begin to clearly and forcefully use this wealth to create opportunities for future generations without going outside our own community.

Black consumers have tremendous spending power, but we need to give our business owners a chance to thrive by investing in them.

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