Black Entrepreneurs with Disability – Research

Harder to do business now than a few years ago, claim black entrepreneurs with disability in London.

Almost half (46%) of black entrepreneurs with disability questioned in a recent survey said that it has become harder to do business in London in the last two or three years, while just 9% think it has become easier. • Ethnic minorities have slightly higher disability rates than their white counterparts, a gap which increases with age

• The ethnicity profile for disabled led businesses reported in the 2005 LAB Survey shows 2% of the total across all ethnic groups, although there appear to be fewer Asian disabled led businesses (1% of the total of all Asian owned businesses) compared with other ethnic groups

• Economic activity rates for disabled Londoners are low for disabled people from BME groups (43%).

• Disabled people from BAME groups are less likely to be economically active than disabled people from non BAME groups

The research was commissioned by Business Link in London as part of a wider initiative to gain a greater understanding of the perceived challenges facing the disabled business community in the Capital. The results are based on 100 in-depth interviews conducted by telephone during February 2008 by independent research company, Loudhouse. One quarter of the total respondents where black entrepreneurs.

Key findings include:

Barriers to success – when setting up a business, other people’s attitudes and stereotypes (82%) were cited as the top challenge, followed by a perceived lack of specialised support and appropriate training / development (77%) and personal discrimination (64%). 77% believe that businesses run by disabled entrepreneurs face greater barriers than other businesses

Main motivations – 59% started a business because they were either unable to get other employment, unable to progress in their previous job or were seeking to avoid discrimination in the workplace. Whilst 45% opted for the desire to be independent or their own boss

Keeping it in the community – 23% of disabled entrepreneurs aim their business at other disabled people.

Step in the right direction – 55% think that the Disability Discrimination Act has helped remove some or a few barriers to starting up a business.

Afsana Shukur, head of diversity and equality, Business Link in London commented:

“In a complex marketplace and with each disability and individual requiring unique support, the challenge lies not in the lack of appropriate suppliers or organisations out there but instead, in finding the right one to meet each individual’s needs. This is what Business Link is here for, to cut through the minefield of information available and make sure disabled entrepreneurs are knocking on the right doors to meet their business ambitions.”

So far this year, more than 2,000 disabled-owned businesses have contacted Business Link in London for help. Gary McFarlane, founder of Blue Badge Consultancy Ltd, a company that provides consultancy to help businesses better understand and meet the requirements of the disabled community, comments:

“Times are changing for the better and whilst the perception might be that it’s getting harder, the reality is that there is more opportunity than ever. Organisations such as Business Link are getting much better at listening to disabled people and treating us as entrepreneurs first and disabled people second. It’s about realising that we don’t always want to be doing training and workshops with other disabled people but want to engage much more in society with everyone else. With events such as the London 2012 Olympics and Para Olympics fast approaching, there’s no better time for disabled people to make full use of the advice and support that’s out there and do something great in business.”

About Blue Badge Consultancy Ltd: Blue Badge Consultancy Ltd offers simple and practical solutions for service providers enabling them to respond positively and cost-effectively to the requirements of customers with disabilities who want services but need services just that little bit tailored to their needs.

Business Link London