27th June 2020 saw the launch of Black Pound Day in the UK. Picked up by a receptive audience on the back of #BlackLivesMatter news coverage, Black Pound Day created many talking points about black businesses in the UK. One of the talking points which resonated with me centered on black entrepreneurs and the perceived lack of support for black-owned businesses.
So, one month on from Black Pound Day, where are you with your startup? For those who seized the opportunity and took the first steps to launch their own business, they could probably give chapter and verse on their startup journey. For many who got behind the movement in spirit but not in reality, this is probably a tough question so let’s look at why the time to act is now.
1. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity
With talks of a global recession, most businesses are preparing for the worse. But at the same time, savvy entrepreneurs are looking for opportunities those businesses are leaving on the table. Large businesses cannot adapt as fast as smaller nimble companies. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity; what are you waiting for?
2. Black Pound Day is just the start
Black Pound Day, the brainchild of Swiss is described as a solution-based approach to support the growth of the UK black economy. There are five principles that are fundamental to the cause;
- Buy from black-owned businesses
- Promote your purchase or the business in question
- Use the Black Pound Day hashtag on social media #BlackPoundDay
- Showcase your experience on your social media stories
- Recommend the business to a friend.
3. The internet is a leveler
There is no arguing that the internet is a great leveler. In 2020, anyone with a smartphone and a basic understanding of how to use it can set up a business in a day. Making that business profitable is a different story but many barriers that existed in the past are gone thanks to the internet.
4. You are not alone
If the internet was good for one thing, that would be connecting people. From websites to Facebook groups to blogs like this, there are many people who want to succeed just like you and with that, do business with you. Build on movements like Black Pound Day and join groups like UK Black Business Help Group and Support UK Black Owned Businesses.
LinkedIn And Dove Join Forces To End Hair Discrimination
LinkedIn and Dove have announced a partnership in an effort to combat workplace hair discrimination. The two companies have collaborated to produce educational resources and programming to help end bias against natural hairstyles. This is a major step forward in the fight for inclusion and equity in the workplace. So, what can we expect from this collaboration?
What is the LinkedIn & Dove Partnership?
The goal of the LinkedIn and Dove partnership is to make sure that everyone has equal opportunities in their job search regardless of their hair texture or style. To do this, they have created a comprehensive collection of educational materials and online programming that includes everything from informative webinars to interactive workshops. This will provide people with resources that can help them understand how to navigate bias in the workplace and advocate for themselves when it comes to their hair choices.
- Diversity Recruiting
- Confronting Bias: Thriving Across Our Differences
- Getting Off the Fence: Inclusive Leadership in Action
- Be an Inclusive Organization People Won’t Leave
- Uncovering Unconscious Bias in Recruiting and Interviewing
- Equity First: The Path to Inclusion and Belonging
- Inclusive Leadership
- Recruiting Diverse Talent as a Hiring Manager
- Leading Inclusive Teams
- Advancing a DIBs Strategy in Your Organization
Additionally, LinkedIn will also be introducing a new feature that enables job seekers to add information about their hairstyle preferences directly on their profile so recruiters can better understand what they are looking for when it comes hiring decisions.
This partnership is significant because it marks an important step towards eliminating hair discrimination in the workplace. For too long, there has been a narrative around professional looks where certain hairstyles are seen as “appropriate” while others are deemed “unprofessional” or “distracting”—which ultimately leads to bias against certain types of natural hair textures.
This kind of discrimination is not only wrong but it also impacts individuals’ ability to be successful in their careers by limiting access to job opportunities and promotions due solely based on appearance-related criteria like hairstyle or texture. Findings from the 2023 CROWN Research Study co-commissioned by Dove and LinkedIn including:
- Black women’s hair is 2.5x more likely to be perceived as unprofessional.
- Bias against natural hair and protective styles can impact how Black women navigate the hiring process.
- Approximately 2/3 of Black women (66%) change their hair for a job interview. Among them, 41% changed their hair from curly to straight.
- Black women are 54% more likely (or over 1.5x more likely) to feel like they have to wear their hair straight to a job interview to be successful.
- Hair discrimination has led Black women to have a negative experience or outcomes within the workplace.
- Black women with coily/textured hair are 2x as likely to experience microaggressions in the workplace than Black women with straighter hair.
- Over 20% of Black women 25-34 have been sent home from work because of their hair.
- Young Black professionals are feeling the pressure from hair discrimination the most.
- Nearly half (44%) of Black women under age 34 feel pressured to have a headshot with straight hair.
- 25% of Black women believe they have been denied a job interview because of their hair, which is even higher for women under 34 (1/3).
How can you help end hair discrimination?
Bystander intervention is one of the key ways we can all help create more inclusive workplaces for everyone regardless of hair texture or style. As more employers become aware of issues like hair discrimination, they will have an opportunity to create policies that protect employees who choose nontraditional styles such as afros, braids, and locs from being discriminated against during hiring processes or performance reviews.
We can all play our part by speaking out if we see someone being treated unfairly based on their hairstyle choice—whether at work or beyond—and supporting initiatives focused on ending these inequalities through donations or volunteering our time when possible.
The collaboration between LinkedIn and Dove is an important step forward in our collective journey towards creating more inclusive workplaces free from bias related to natural hairstyles. By providing education resources and introducing new features tailored specifically for job seekers with textured hair, both companies hope that together they can help create a world where everyone feels confident bringing their full selves forward without fear of judgement or discrimination due solely based on appearance-based criteria like hairstyle choice. We all play a role here so let’s continue doing our part!
How Many Black Owned Businesses Are There In The UK?
The United Kingdom is home to many different types of businesses, including a growing number of black owned businesses. But how many are there, and where are they located? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the rise of black owned businesses in the UK and explore their impact on the economy.
The Rise of Black Owned Businesses in the UK
Black owned businesses have been on the rise in recent years in the UK. According to research by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), there were nearly 400,000 black owned businesses as of 2019. This figure has increased by more than 50% since 2010—an impressive rate of growth compared to other business demographics.
These figures are encouraging, but it’s important to note that most black owned businesses are small operations with fewer than 10 employees. These small businesses play an important role in local communities, providing employment and creating goods and services for local people. They also contribute significantly to the UK economy as a whole; research from BEIS suggests that black owned businesses account for about 5% of all private sector turnover in Britain.
What’s Driving Growth of Black Owned Businesses in the UK?
So what’s driving this growth? One factor is increased access to finance options; government initiatives such as Start Up Loans have made it easier for entrepreneurs from all backgrounds to get funding for their business ideas. Another factor is increased awareness among consumers; research shows that more people are now looking out for locally owned and operated business when making purchasing decisions.
Finally, there has been an increase in support programs specifically geared towards helping black entrepreneurs start up and grow their own business—such as Enterprise Nation’s #IAmTheFuture campaign which provides mentorship and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds.
It’s clear that there has been a significant increase in the number of black-owned businesses in the UK over recent years—a trend which is likely to continue thanks to improved financial access, increasing consumer awareness, and dedicated support programs aimed at helping these entrepreneurs succeed. It’s inspiring to see so many individuals taking control of their financial destiny by starting their own business ventures—and having a positive impact on both local communities and the economy as a whole. Hopefully this trend continues into 2023 and beyond!
The Reality and True Cost of Workplace Racism in the UK
Every workplace should be a safe and inclusive environment, free of discrimination and prejudice. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Workplace racism is still an issue in the UK, and it has a significant effect on businesses. Let’s take a look at how workplace racism affects the UK economy and what employers can do to combat it.
The economic effects of workplace racism
Workplace racism can have far-reaching economic effects both for companies and for individuals. A study conducted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that workplace racism costs British businesses up to £24 billion each year, due largely to higher staff turnover rates, lower productivity, and under-utilization of talent. It also costs individuals—people who experience racial discrimination are more likely to suffer from stress or depression, leading to decreased job satisfaction and increased absences from work. This in turn leads to reduced productivity, which affects both businesses and employees alike.
What impact does racism have on black entrepreneurship
For many black entrepreneurs, this systemic racism has been a major driving force behind their decision to pursue entrepreneurship as an alternative to regular employment. Let’s take a look at how racism in the UK workplace is pushing black entrepreneurs to create their own opportunities.
In 2018, a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that more than three-quarters of black employees had experienced or witnessed racial discrimination in their workplaces. This statistic should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the history of institutionalized racism in Britain, however it does demonstrate the need for change.
These statistics certainly serve as motivation for many black entrepreneurs who feel that there are limited options for them within traditional employment structures. Not only are they more likely to experience racism, but they are also less likely to be hired or promoted due to unconscious bias and other forms of discrimination. As a result, many have turned to entrepreneurship as an alternative where they can be their own boss and create their own opportunities.
Leveraging Technology to Grow Your Black Business Fast
Technology has transformed the way business is done, and for many Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), it’s been a game changer. The use of digital tools can help to level the playing field when it comes to competing with larger businesses, allowing entrepreneurs from all backgrounds an opportunity to access global markets and increase their customer base.
This is especially true for minority-owned businesses in the United Kingdom, which are often overlooked by traditional investors and can face unique challenges when it comes to expanding their reach. Fortunately, technology can provide black entrepreneurs with some powerful tools to help them succeed. Here are some tips on how to leverage technology to grow your black business:
Invest in social media
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can be incredibly powerful marketing tools if used the right way. Creating engaging content that resonates with your target audience is key – but don’t forget about utilizing these platforms for networking as well. Taking part in conversations related to your industry or niche will help you build relationships with potential customers or partners.
Utilise eCommerce platforms
Ecommerce has revolutionized the retail landscape, enabling small businesses to sell products online without having a physical storefront. It also eliminates geographical boundaries, allowing entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world to reach customers around the globe. Setting up shop on an ecommerce platform like Shopify or WooCommerce is relatively simple and shouldn’t take too much time or money – two of the most important resources for any small business!
Tap into innovative technologies
Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning offer tremendous potential for black entrepreneurs who want to stay ahead of their competition and create truly revolutionary products or services. Knowing which technologies could benefit your business – whether that’s through automation or predictive analytics – will give you a distinct advantage over other players in the market.
Understand the benefits of technology
Technology is a powerful tool for small and medium-sized businesses, especially those owned by minority groups. With digital tools, entrepreneurs of any background can access global markets and increase their customer base. Leveraging technology can help black businesses succeed in competition with larger enterprises. Some tips include investing in social media as a marketing tool, utilising eCommerce platforms to sell goods without a physical storefront, and tapping into innovative technologies such as AI or machine learning. By using these strategies, black entrepreneurs will enable themselves to succeed on the global stage.
By leveraging technology, black entrepreneurs can empower themselves to succeed in a competitive business environment while making their mark on the global stage! With so many exciting opportunities out there right now, now is definitely an ideal time for entrepreneurs of colour to get started!
The Benefits of Mentorship for Black Owned Businesses in the UK
In the UK, minority communities are underrepresented in the business world. According to research conducted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, only one percent of all businesses in the UK are owned by people from black and ethnic minorities – meaning that black-owned businesses are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to competing against larger enterprises and gaining access to resources they need.
Mentorship is an essential tool that can help empower these minority business owners and provide them with the guidance they need to succeed in their respective fields. Here are some of the benefits of mentorship for black-owned businesses:
Access to Insights – By having a mentor who has already been through the process of establishing a successful business, entrepreneurs can gain valuable insight into best practices and strategies as well as having someone to talk with and lean on during challenging times. Mentors can also provide advice on navigating difficult legal or financial challenges and offer constructive feedback on ideas being pursued before they’re put into action.
Supportive Networks – A good mentor will introduce you to other influential contacts within your industry, creating opportunities for collaboration, additional funding, or even job placements or internships in which you could benefit from their extensive knowledge base. Networking with peers brings unique challenges but mentors often provide invaluable advice on how to approach it effectively.
Improved Confidence – It’s not uncommon for owners of small business or startups to feel overwhelmed by fear or self-doubt; this type of anxiety becomes more pronounced when navigating an industry heavily dominated by white/male professionals which is why many feel like having someone offering support can be extremely reassuring during this period – giving reassurance that everything is progressing as expected and providing encouragement when needed!
Mentorship provides much needed guidance, resources, connections and confidence that aspiring entrepreneurs need when starting out – especially those belonging to minority groups who are often kept at a disadvantage due to historical discrimination. Finding a mentor who has gone through similar milestones can be incredibly beneficial in helping navigate any obstacles encountered along the way!
What a difference a year makes… especially for black businesses
This time last year, we were planning to launch our free black business magazine but we chose not to. It was an incredibly hard decision to make but it was the correct one as we wanted to launch at the right time.
Launching any new business is often a make or break moment, whether it be a retailer, clothing brand, law firm or in our case, a publishing business. Effective planning during times of difficult times is critical to the successful launch of a business.
The recent pandemic has been both a blessing and a curse for black entrepreneurs as many have been able to tap in to new opportunities whilst others have had to deal with the harsh realities of lockdowns and temporary closures. As a business, we chose to move our big launch back as we felt we would be able to reach a bigger audience and achieve a bigger impact on UK black businesses once many of the restrictions were removed.
How the pandemic affected UK Black businesses and us
Much of the impact of the pandemic on black entrepreneurs has been due to the sector they operate in. Sectors with lower output per hour (productivity) were amongst the hardest hit because many of these businesses require face-to-face activities (e.g. Food services, Arts, Health and social work). This applied to us too as our distribution network was made up of many retail outlets and businesses with high footfall.
Distributing hard copies of a magazine even for free would have been a challenge with many of our distributor’s premises closed so we made the tough the choice to move back the launch of our physical copy.