Hari Rai, vice chair of the West Midlands Minority Ethnic Business Forum told the ACBF at a networking event at Sandwell Borough Council that there had never been a more important time to influence Government and key decision makers.
“At this difficult time we are pressing for action that will help minority ethnic businesses to cope with the storms of recession and there are some major successes.”
He told the meeting at the Council offices in Oldbury that the Forum’s support had enabled Advantage West Midlands – the Regional Development Agency – to obtain additional funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to help minority businesses.
“We have also been successful in getting additional funding for Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) that provide finance to businesses unable to attract funding from traditional financial institutions such as High Street banks.
“The Forum has also taken a lead with UKTI in developing a diversity programme of trade missions to non-core markets such as the Caribbean. This has enabled businesses to win orders from overseas markets and take advantage of the rich diversity of the West Midlands.”
Hari Rai, from Wolverhampton who is an international trade adviser, said that the role of the Forum chairman Mohammad Nazir as one of the seven strong team of economic advisers to Ian Austin MP, Minister for the West Midlands, gave minority businesses an important voice in the influencing of decision making on key issues.
“The Forum is a vital advocate for minority entrepreneurs and our work has never been more important that at this time.”