Dr Yeow Poon, aged 52, is managing director of the international management consultancy People and Organisation Ltd based at the Big Peg in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.
He spends half of his time in the United Kingdom working with clients including Birmingham City Council and the rest of his time abroad primarily in the Far East where he works with governments and businesses in China, Vietnam. Lao and Cambodia.
Dr Poon came to the UK in 1975 and graduated in architectural engineering from Leeds University. He spent several years as a lecturer in Environmental Science at the John Moore University in Liverpool and doing research at de Montford University in Leicester before joining Birmingham City Council in 1990.
Seven years later he founded People and Organisation Ltd and is currently involved in a number of projects involving the European Union, World Bank, Asian Development Bank United Nations Development Programme and a number of European bilateral donors.
“There are major challenges facing entrepreneurs from minority ethnic communities in the West Midlands. It is not just about education and skills because just as important for success are self awareness, confidence and bridging the cultural gap,” said Dr Poon.
“For example, networking is vital to successful business and much of this at the top level requires business leaders from minority ethnic backgrounds to leave the safety of their own communities and cross cultural boundaries.”
The West Midlands Minority Ethnic Business Forum provides strategic advice to Advantage West Midlands – the regional development agency.