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Business summit to shine spotlight on diversity support

EVENT: Joel Blake OBE

A BUSINESS summit focused on unlocking the potential of diversity-owned businesses is being held in Birmingham next month as part of a national focus to harness their entrepreneurial potential.

The event will turn the spotlight on the social, cultural and financial barriers that can restrict the high growth of black and minority ethnic (BAME) owned businesses which blocks their road to success.

Funded by the Government-backed Start-Up Loans Company, the Midlands BAME Business Summit has been organised by leading Birmingham-based enterprise development company Cultiv8 Solutions.

Joel Blake OBE, Cultiv8 founder, said: “BAME businesses contribute more than £25 billion pounds to the UK economy each year. Yet, in such a diverse city as Birmingham, and given the fact that the city has one of the highest levels of start-up enterprises being created in the country, many business owners from diverse communities still feel outside of mainstream support, but can add significant value to the growth of the region.”

Joel, who was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list earlier this year for services to business support and enterprise, added: “This will not be an event for negative debate. For the first time, the voice of a new generation of BAME business owners will be heard, providing tangible solutions, supporting other like-minded business owners and educating business support organisations, so we can all work together in a more practical and focused way.”

Speakers at the summit will include Tim Sawyers CBE, Start Up Loans Company CEO, Professor Monder Ram OBE, director of the Centre of Research into Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CRÈME) at the University of Birmingham, and Saqib Bhatti, board director of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, and president of the Asian Chamber of Commerce.

Tim Sawyers said: “At the Start Up Loans Company, nearly a quarter of all our loans have gone to BAME-led businesses – while we are extremely proud of this figure, we want to see it grow.”

The event, on Wednesday November 2 at Hotel La Tour, will include speaker sessions, a business panel, an audience debate and a private business mastermind session for entrepreneurs.

The outcome of the day will feed into an independent report by Cultiv8 Solutions, which will be presented to central Government and the Start Up Loans Company.

Limited places are available – for details visit: or contact Cultiv8 Solutions on 0121 667 4470.

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