New business board being set up as part of Sheffield’s aims to become an anti-racist city
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The council’s economic development and skills policy committee heard that the plan forms part of its response to the Sheffield Racial Equality Commission report in July and moves to becoming an anti-racist city. The commission called for better support for black, Asian and minority ethnic businesses and enterprise.
A report to the committee from the council’s business support team Business Sheffield said that working with 10 times the number of businesses made some issues clearer about working with a more diverse range of business owners.
The report said: “There are structural inequalities in the wider business ecosystem, and often programmes are designed and tested with a small segment of businesses, that is not diverse and representative of the full business base. It highlighted the need to design our partnership interfaces andengagement to be more inclusive”.
Black, Asian and minoritised businesses are to be directly involved in designing and developing business support. This includes working in communities, providing face-to-face and bespoke support.
The committee heard that the way Business Sheffield staff will work will change from putting out information and expecting businesses to come forward to going out to where they are. It will also use community business forums and networks.
Sheffield Chamber is working on creating start-up loans targeted at minority businesses, collaborating with Business Sheffield to target them.
The new business advisory board will include a more diverse range of businesses and business leaders to involve in them in helping to shape the city’s future economic strategy and the way that services for businesses are delivered.
The committee also heard about the work of Business Sheffield to support the United Women’s Affiliation, a charity working with women who come from African nations, some of whom have fled traumatic experiences.
Many have ambitions to set up businesses here, including some who ran businesses before they came to Sheffield. Business advisor Christina Lima Trindade has been working with the group about opportunities and support available and introduced them to inspiring speakers about their own experiences.