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Brixton workshop helps BME women launch businesses

ADVICE: The First Steps in Social Enterprise for BME Women event in Karibu Centre, Brixton

A SCHEME to help Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) women set up their own businesses attracted more than 40 aspiring social entrepreneurs.

The workshop, funded by the Tampon Tax Fund (TTF), acts as the start of a 12-week course, which featured addresses from women running successful businesses and workshops on how to get ideas up and running.

The First Steps in Social Enterprise for BME Women event in Karibu Centre, Brixton was attended by Lambeth mayor Ibrahim Dogus who praised the scheme run by Olmec and the Real Change Collective (RCC).

Olmec is a BME led social enterprise which champions race equality through economic and social justice.

Addressing the attendees, Dogus revealed he has come to the UK in 1994 as a Kurdish refugee but was now a successful businessman.

He said: “I firmly believe anyone can be a great entrepreneur with the right help and I wish Olmec had been around when I started.

“Setting up a business helps communties and raises aspirations and we cannot underestimate the impact of positive role models in society.”

Speakers at the event included Alem Gebrehiwot, executive director of charity Embrace UK, which is working with Olmec to set up its own domiciliary care community interest company and Farrah Rainfly, who’s Life After Hummus provides food waste advice and healthy eating initiatives, also based on help from Olmec. The event was catered for by Green Elephant a graduate of the First Steps programme.

Representatives of the Real Change Collective which provides specialist housing advice through Arhag, immigration and legal advice through Praxis, Migrants Rights Network and Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation and health Advice through Doctors of the World, were also at the session.

They are all funded through the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport’s Tampon Tax Fund.

Olmec’s Lara Oyedele, who led the meeting, said: “This is about addressing the issue of positive role models for BME women. We are passionate about enabling people to be eco- nomically self-sufficient.”

Organiser John Mayford said: “Banks statistics show that businesses’ chance of success increase by 70% if they have the right support. There are lots of fantastic social entrepreneurs out there and we are here to provide that support.”

As well as the inspirational talks there were four workshops for attendees to hone their business skills and learn more about the upcoming course.

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