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Entrepreneurs' support

MAKING A STAND: Levi Roots was one of the night’s speakers

KEY FIGURES from Britain’s black Christian community listened as the CEO of the Pentecostal Credit Union (PCU) challenged church leaders to encourage entrepreneurship within their congregations.

Shane Bowes was speaking at Solomon’s Room, a special event held at The Royal Society, central London. He said: “Churches are uniquely placed to play a key role in the arousal and nurturing of entrepreneurial appetite and in the creation of the conditions that favour and enable growth of business ownership.”

He also admonished leaders to “educate, support, nurture and encourage” business entrepreneurship within their congregations.

The PCU was founded in 1980 by Rev Carmel Jones in response to the difficulties black people were experiencing getting loans from banks and building societies. Comprising members of Britain’s Pentecostal churches, the PCU is now Britain’s second largest credit union and has an asset base of £10 million.

The aim of Solomon’s Room was to showcase students on the PCU’s business course as they made pitches to gain mentoring support. Pentecostal minister Bishop Wayne Malcolm told the audience it is “moral, right and spiritual” for church leaders to support entrepreneurship.

He said: “In your church you get more of what you celebrate. If you celebrate the entrepreneurs and describe their activities as noble, as moral and right you develop a culture in which entrepreneurship is normal and valued.”

VISION: The Royal Society was packed out for the event

Following Bishop Malcolm’s talk the PCU students pitched to business owners Michael Petrie of CloudStream, Antonia Burrell of Antonia Burrell Holistic Skincare, Reggie Cole of Buy2LetCars and Patrick Reid of PJs Community. All of the students won mentoring and business development support.

Keynote speaker businessman Levi Roots, creator of Reggae Reggae Cooking Sauce, shared his journey to business success explaining that a chance meeting with a BBC producer at a World Food Fair, led to him appearing on Dragon’s Den. He won the financial support and the business mentorship he had prayed for over to help him take his now popular sauce across Britain.

The PCU plans to support business owners by providing facilities that will enable businesses to make and receive payments from third parties, as well as launching a mobile app and a new PCU credit card. Shane Bowes said he is excited by what the future holds for black business owners and budding entrepreneurs within the Christian community.

He added: “It was refreshing to see so many church leaders and Christian influencers attend Solomon’s Room. The feedback has been positive and people have expressed a desire to see the black Christian community become entrepreneurial.

“The PCU is keen to support the Pentecostal Christian community as it takes bolder steps towards entrepreneurship and will ensure that its services means the needs of the growing business community within the church.”

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