Mayor champions summit supporting city’s diverse entrepreneurs

25 March 2014

The Mayor of London has spoken at a summit designed to help budding entrepreneurs from some of the capital’s diverse groups to overcome barriers and access support and finance to help them flourish in the capital (24 March). The event at City Hall brought together 350 female and black and minority ethnic delegates with leaders from some of the UK’s biggest banks and financial institutions to discuss how to unlock the true potential of London’s diverse businesses.

Following the Mayor’s opening address the delegates heard professionals from some of the UKs top financial institutions discuss how to overcome barriers and meet challenges and how to access vital funding to grow their businesses. The afternoon saw panel discussions where both sides shared ideas about how they could work together more effectively.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “London’s economy is really starting to take off and I want people from every community in London to share in the success that our city will continue to enjoy. We are lengthening our lead as the greatest capital city on earth and it is absolutely right that entrepreneurs from all backgrounds get the opportunity to play their part in shaping London’s future.”

Whilst London is already home to some of the UK’s most successful diverse businesses some cultural groups are still under-represented as business leaders. The Mayor has a number of initiatives to help small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to flourish in the capital, this includes helping them to access and effectively use the type of finance they need to grow.

The City Hall summit was organised by Sonia Brown MBE, Founder of the Black Women’s Network in partnership with Nat West Bank and international law firm Mishcon de Reya. She hoped to address some of the issues that face ambitious people from diverse groups such as lack of knowledge about how to access finance and removing perception of barriers to accessing finance.

Sonia Brown MBE said: “Women and BME led businesses have a vital role to play in London’s economy. This event provides an excellent platform to not only hear from the leading business thought leaders but provides attendees with valuable and strategic information to leverage, harness and unleash fresh ideas, insights and opportunities to start and grow profitable and sustainable businesses that will take us to the next level of economic growth.”

Anne McPherson, Managing Director of Diversity in Business at NatWest says: “We are proud to be working in partnership with the National Black Women’s Network, helping women from diverse backgrounds to grow vibrant, profitable and sustainable businesses and develop new skills and knowledge. The NatWest approach is built on the commercial imperative to support more women to set up and grow their businesses with the economic benefits that this generates.”