I say lucky as it has meant that I have met people I would not have otherwise got to know. These entrepreneurs were from completely different backgrounds to myself and some are now my very good friends.
Diversity covers all areas such as female owned businesses, ethnicity diversity as well as disability. The critical part I have learned from my work in all three areas is that confidence is the biggest restriction on their ability and mentoring has proven the most effective tool to help diverse entrepreneurs overcome this.
Ethnic minority businesses are estimated to contribute £25-£32 billion to the UK economy per year, and women-led enterprises contribute around £70 billion so by supporting these entrepreneurs we have a fantastic opportunity to further help the UK overall.
Three of the areas that I have supported have just created resources on this and in these they explore the issues, the economic benefits and the solutions - and I am delighted that my recommendations on mentoring have been taken forward as examples of International best practice.
UK Diversity & Inclusion Council
I have been a member of the Council for 4 years and it includes all the major banks, SME support organisations and diversity groups. The report here highlights the main stats and work of the Council.
I contributed to this research paper alongside 20 other SME and diversity experts and again Mentoring was highlighted as a best practice solution. This is an academic paper covering the Evaluation and Analysis of Good Practices in Promoting and Supporting Migrant Entrepreneurship. It includes a Guide book and self-assessment tools.
Enterprise Diversity Alliance
This organisation is part of CREME the Centre for Research Ethnic Diversity Minority Entrepreneurship based at Birmingham University Business School and led by Professor Monder Ram OBE and Professor Kiran Trehan. I have been part of the main council for 5 years and again Mentoring has been a brilliant practical outcome here. The 20th annual conference report is now available.