BAME women encouraged to take up social enterprise in government drive

The government has announced an action plan to tackle high unemployment and economic inactivity amongst Black, Asian and minority ethnic women (BAME). Particularly amongst Pakistani and Bangladeshi women who statistically are among the most marginalised in society.

A report published today, Social Enterprise: Making it Work for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Women identifies new ways to progress forward in encouraging and supporting BAME women into starting social enterprises.

There are at least 55,000 social enterprises in the UK which contribute £8.4 billion pounds to the UK economy, but evidence suggests that BAME women are underrepresented as social enterprise owners. By encouraging women from BAME groups to go into social enterprise the government hopes to empower them to play a role to play in regenerating neighbourhoods and make progress on community cohesion

Proposals  include:

* Creating resources to signpost women to key sources of advice and funding;
* Developing a bank of case studies of BAME women social entrepreneurs;
* Identifying ways to disseminate information on social enterprises to BAME women;
* Considering how women's centres and children's centres could provide a space for BAME women together to share their experiences and create their own networks; and
* Conducting further research into the needs of BAME women wanting to set up social enterprises to build a better picture across the country.

Deputy Minister for Women and Equality, Barbara Follett, said:

"Social enterprise can be a route to fulfilling employment, better incomes and greater independence and has the power to transform our country for the better.

"Significantly for BAME women, it can enhance the role they play in their local communities. We want to develop practical measures for increasing the representation of BAME women in their communities and we recognise the multiple benefits from encouraging more of them to enter social enterprise."

The main barriers to BAME women entering social enterprise were identified in the report as:

* A low awareness of social enterprise among BAME women;
* Limits on time and family obligations;
* Securing finance - for example knowledge gaps in identifying potential funding sources or how to apply for and secure funding;
* Lack of knowledge of business development and finance and expertise about marketing goods and services;
* Low Confidence and Motivation; and
* Multiple disadvantage - cultural stereotyping within and outside communities which holds back their participation in business and wider society.

Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, said:

"Social enterprises draw on a diverse range of talent that delivers innovative approaches to some of the most challenging social problems.
"BAME women can have a better understanding of the issues facing their communities than anyone else so supporting them in particular has great potential to help improve those communities.

The report highlights some examples of BAME women who have overcome the barriers to lead a thriving social enterprise.  Further information can be found on the link below



Posted by
Asif Yusuf



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