BER20: How Black Pound Day is helping Birmingham businesses

Birmingham City Council

This blog post was produced for inclusion in the Birmingham Economic Review for 2020.

The annual Birmingham Economic Review is produced by the University of Birmingham’s City-REDI and the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, with contributions from the West Midlands Growth Company. It is an in-depth exploration of the economy of England’s second city and a high-quality resource for informing research, policy and investment decisions.

This post is featured in Chapter 3 of the Birmingham Economic Review for 2020, on  Labour Market Challenges Pre- and Post- Pandemic.

Click here to read the Review.

Cllr Sharon Thompson, Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods talks about why Birmingham is backing Black Pound Day – and how it’s benefiting the city’s Black-led businesses.

Without a doubt, 2020 has been a year like no other.

Since March, our lives have been a constant adjustment, as communities deal with the impact of Covid-19 which continues to impact on all our lives, how we work and how businesses now operate within the ‘new normal’.

This, alongside the global reaction to the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, has highlighted some stark inequalities both across the country and here, in Birmingham.

National Black Pound Day was created as one of these many moves towards positive action by So Solid Crew member Swiss. It’s been set up to support black businesses and the growth of the UK economy.

This campaign invites all communities to consciously spend with black businesses on the first Saturday of each month. Over the summer, the city of Birmingham has been backing this and encouraging businesses to sign up and register on the Black Pound Day website.

According to a report from Aston University’s Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME), firms run by entrepreneurs from black and minority ethnic backgrounds contribute as much as £25 billion to the UK economy.

On 18 September, I joined the award-winning businessman Joel Blake OBE, Professor Monder Ram OBE, director of CREME at Aston University, and Paul Faulkner, Chief Executive of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce to discuss the importance of Black businesses to our local and the UK’s economy – and the role Black Pound Day has in celebrating that.

Since the city’s first Black Pound Day on 27 June, a wide-range of Birmingham businesses have registered on its website, so consumers can find out where they can go to support them.

The economic impact from Covid-19 will continue to affect businesses, but it will have an even greater impact on Black communities. We’re already seeing a disparity in business in the UK.

Black entrepreneurs are more than twice as likely to be denied a loan than white entrepreneurs and nearly 12 per cent more likely to be rejected for an overdraft. So, it is vital that we support black businesses so to ensure that they survive.

Birmingham’s own population is incredibly diverse and as a city we want to see all our communities thrive – and Black Pound Day is just one way in which they can come together to support each other.

I continue to urge all Black-owned businesses in our city to register on the website and anyone interested in supporting this movement to sign up for updates – and to get ready to spend with these businesses on the first Saturday of every month. 

We are not the only organisations getting behind Black Pound Day, it’s great to see so much local community involvement. The Legacy Centre of Excellence in Aston is holding monthly Black Pound Day market, which has proved very popular with shoppers and traders alike – it’s fantastic to see such positive support.

This is an opportunity to not only promote and support the Black economy in Birmingham and online, but also to bring our communities together. So please get registered and get spending.

I know that both I and Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Community Safety and Equalities, want to thank our partners for coming on board and helping us to bring Black Pound Day to Birmingham. In particular, I’d like to thank New Style Radio, Big City Radio, NatWest Bank, Joel Blake and Jamila Davis from the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce for all of their support in raising awareness of Black Pound Day in Birmingham.

The campaign has also fostered high-profile support from television presenter Alison Hammond, international music artist Apache Indian, actress Cherelle Skeete and Dee Kelly.

  • For more information about how to register and support these businesses, visit uk

Cllr Sharon Thompson
Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods
Birmingham City Council