BER21: The Black Pounds Project

Black Pounds Project

This blog post was produced for inclusion in the Birmingham Economic Review for 2021.

The annual Birmingham Economic Review is produced by the University of Birmingham’s City-REDI and the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. 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 2 of the Birmingham Economic Review for 2021, on Industry and Innovation: Pathways to Prosperity

Click here to read the Review.

The Black Pounds Project (BPP) was founded by CJ Webley, CEO as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company. The Project was created in direct response to the growing number of Black business owners that are failing due to a lack of business acumen or understanding of due diligence requirements. Many have no awareness of services they can access or the free business support that is available to them. The Project’s aim is to provide relevant training in professional development for black-owned businesses in the West Midlands to have greater access to finance and business support.

In 2018 5.4% of UK small and medium enterprises (SME) employers were led by a majority of people from an ethnic minority background.  As black and minority ethnic business owners are an important asset to the prosperity and resilience of the UK economic structure, contributing 25 billion to the UK’s gross value every year, it is disappointing that  a disproportionate percentage of black owned businesses have been severely affected as a result of COVID-19.

The above barriers mean that black-owned businesses tend to be disproportionately represented in sectors with lower start-up costs that generate lower profit margins.  This has resulted in Black-owned businesses having less access to lucrative markets and procurement contracts. There is no better time than now to launch our project scheme as the entire country attempts to rebuild.

The Black Pounds Project provides business information, support, mentoring coaching and  signposting assistance for black-owned businesses in the West Midlands. We will also engage with established enterprise services like the Local Enterprise Partnership, The Growth Hub, Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and the Banking sector as part of our partnership working plan to collaborate with existing institutional organisations and build relational activities between black-owned businesses and establishments that perceive these groups as ‘hard to reach community’ businesses.  We recognise the established and successful support service available to Asian business owners through the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce, and the BPP was established to provide tailored support, information and guidance to Black owned businesses that have reached out. 

The BPP has already registered a number of  black owned businesses, ready to engage with our services, reinforcing  a need for support provisions to be available and accessible to black owned businesses, and affirming the perceived barriers of exclusion is having a real impact on black owned businesses in the West Midlands accessing business support.  There is no other programme that provides the same level of targeted, practical support for black business owners:

To find out more about the support we can offer please visit our website here