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Kerching! The sound of the black pound

NINE PERCENT of the UK population is made up of ethnic minorities, with approximately three percent hailing from African and Caribbean communities.

Despite their small size these communities collectively generate £40billion for the UK economy, according to data from the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepre-neurship (CREME).

While Asian-owned businesses make up the bulk of that figure, firms owned by people of African and Caribbean origin still generate an incredible £10billion.

However this achievement is often overshadowed by recent unemployment figures that show black people aged between 16 and 24, account for 44 percent of those unemployed – almost doubling the number of their white counterparts.

All hope, however, is not lost. There are many black entrepreneurs who are living testaments of self-made success.

We profile some of our favourites:

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DR MOHAMMAD "MO" IBRAHIM


GOOD SAMARITAN: Billionaire Mo Ibrahim

Born in Sudan with a degree from the University of Alexandria in Electrical Engineering, a Masters degree from the University of Bradford in Electronics and Electrical Engineering, and a PhD from the University of Birmingham in Mobile Communications, Ibrahim is alleged to be worth £3.4 billion.

After selling his telecommunications company Celtel in 2005, he set up the Mo Ibrahim Foundation which “supports good governance and great leadership in Africa.” In 2007, the mogul launched the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. It awards and initial $5 million payment, with annual installments of $200,000 for life to African heads-of-state who provide security, health, education and economic development to their constituents and democratically transfer power to their successors.

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SONIA ALLEYNE OBE

With a BA in Philosophy from Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge Sonita Alleyne is co founder of Somethin’ Else, a media company she founded after she was made redundant in 1991. The company expanded rapidly and started making content for the BBC and commercial radio stations.

In 2000, Alleyne received the Award of Excellence from the European Federation of Black Women Busi-ness Owners. In 2002, she won the Carlton Multicultural Achievement Award for TV and Radio. In 2003, she was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting. In 2008, The Independent announced Somethin’ Else as “the biggest syndicator of radio programmes in the UK, outside of the BBC, distributing shows to more than 200 radio stations in 65 countries.” In 2009, she stepped down as CEO and became non-executive director. Alleyne was recently appointed to the BBC Trust by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt.

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MICHAEL PREST


RECLUSE: Nigerian energy tycoon Michael Prest

Prest is a Nigerian-born oil tycoon who is based in the UK. He founded his company Petrodel Resources, one of the largest independent energy investment companies in Sub Saharan Africa, in 2001. It was established using a gift of £10,000 seed money from his father before he died in1992. Prest was called to the Bar in 1984 after he graduated from the University of Ife, in Nigeria. He briefly went into legal practice before venturing into the oil business.

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JUSTINE MILLS


NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOE BUSINESS: Justine Mills co-founded one of Liverpool’s premier fashion store

Mills is the co-founder of the two-floor Liverpool based boutique Cricket, which attracts high profile celebrities such as Coleen Rooney, wife of Manchester United star Wayne Rooney who often pass through to check out her designer gear. In fact, Rooney has been known to spend up to £22,000 there in one season. Mills started the business in 1991 as a men’s fashion store, but shifted to solely women’s wear in 1997. Cricket stocks items from international designers such as Céline, Christian Louboutin and Lanvin to Isabel Marant, YSL and Chloé. Mills proves that you do not need a university degree to set up and run a well established and highly rated business.

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DAVID ADJAYE OBE


GRAND DESIGN: David Adjaye has won a contract to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC

A graduate of London South Bank University with a Masters from the Royal College of Art, the cv of this Ghanaian diplomat’s son is extremely impressive. In 2009, Adjaye was selected in a competition to design the $500 million National Museum of African American History and Culture, part of the Smithsonian in Washington DC.

With this came international commissions, such as designing homes with other artists like Chris Ofili. Adjaye’s work spans exhibitions, private homes and artist collaborations. In 2007, he was awarded an OBE for services to architecture. To date, he has co-presented two television series of Dreamspaces for the BBC, a six-part series on contemporary architecture, and hosted two BBC Radio programs. He holds a visiting professor post at Princeton’s School of Architecture.

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