The BME Business Forum, which is backed by Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, organised the second annual Accessing Finance event to try and help the sectors learn more about each other.
Approximately 150 guests heard Bill Kimbering of Muntaz Ventures, which runs a number of restaurants in Bradford and sells Halal baby food, share his experiences of establishing a business. Other key-note speakers included Tony Goulbourn, chief executive of South Yorkshire Investment Fund (SYIF).
The evening also included the option for guests to take part in a number of workshops to help people target the information most relevant to their needs.
BME Forum coordinator Bernadette Grocock said: “Accessing finance is one of the areas the forum gets asked about most. There’s sometimes a lack of knowledge on both sides as to how BME businesses and financial organisations can work together and it’s something we hope to rectify over time.
“Only by meeting each other on a regular basis and learning more about one another can these issues be addressed. We’re making progress and I’m looking forward to continuing this work.”
Over the last 12 months the forum has brokered a number of meetings with banks and finance organisations to outline the needs of BME businesses and identify areas where organisations can improve working relationships.
SYIF’s Tony Goulbourn and Alistair Watson of Lloyds TSB, who is also Chairman and Director of Pro South Yorkshire, helped to organise the meetings between the forum and the financial community.
Said Tony: “The language of finance can be complex and knowing who to turn to and what they are able to offer can be confusing. The key for most small businesses is to understand the expectation of those providing finance, take advice, if you can, and build relationships with your bank.
“Through organisations such as the BME Business Forum, SYIF and the banks working together, and events such as this hopefully we can enable more entrepreneurs find the support necessary.”
For further information about the BME Business Forum contact Bernadette Grocock on 0114 281 4748.