Enterprise and entrepreneurship is a vital component of social inclusion and community regeneration. Small businesses are the engine house of UK-based job growth and contribute a huge amount of economic vibrancy and innovation. Ensuring enterprise policies, business support practices, and the delivery of business support to a broader range of individuals, their families and their communities, helps social cohesion as well as improving UK and regional productivity.
I have extensive experience in the development and use of small-scale research tools, including focus groups: very useful in testing out public opinion regarding their knowledge and usage of enterprise support. I and my consultancy partners also work with Banks, Regional Development Agencies, Business Links and other specialist agencies to test out their perceptions of customers’ / communities’ needs and level of demand, sometimes with surprising results!
More than ever before, it’s vital to ensure that enterprise is accessible to a wider proportion of our populations and communities, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, age or religious creed. Having championed women’s and minority enterprise for many years, I am now still involved with developing policies and practices designed to increase participation in business and self-employment.
For years I have taken pride in advocating for enterprise policies and business support services that recognise the role and contribution of women’s enterprise, playing a key role in Prowess, the UK’s no.1 women’s enterprise advocacy organisation engaging with many key ministers over the years, taking the message that women’s activities in business are a vital component of UK economic performance.
I have also contributed to gathering the lessons learned from targeting and delivering enterprise support to ‘non-traditional’ communities through more appropriate, accessible and transformational forms of publicly funded business support.
In addition, I was honoured to be a member of the national ministerial Ethnic Minority Enterprise Task Force reporting to the Secretary of State for Business, co-chaired by Dragons Den member, James Caan and Tom Rhiordan, now Chief Executive of Leeds City Council.
- Research into specific business support needs of particular communities or market segments, including women.
- Support to Corporates and business support agencies wanting to become more effective in targeting and engaging with ‘non-traditional’ client groups, and/or communities.
- Practical recommendations to support the development of appropriate enterprise policies, and engagement strategies.
- Expert insights into transformational business advice practices, including business coach-mentoring.
Examples of Kiki’s enterprise policy development work
- Minority Ethnic Enterprise Centre of Excellence (MEECOE): funded by Advantage West Midlands, reviewing national good practice in business support for BAME women entrepreneurs, and ongoing policy and practitioner issues for the West Midlands and the UK. Included an ethnic / gender analysis of Dr Rebecca Harding’s “Challenges and Opportunities for Growth and Sustainability” (COGS) study with some interesting and surprising findings on the motivations, challenges, and financial issues for BAME women owners of growth-oriented businesses.
- South East Development Agency (SEEDA): collation of women’s enterprise statistics in order to support the women’s economic inclusion and enterprise PR and policy agenda.
- with Inclusion (formerly CESI and Peter Ramsden): review of the skills, education and enterprise needs of BME communities for the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).
- South East Development Agency (SEEDA): Small-scale study into the business support practices of 6 Enterprise Gateways supporting women and ethnic minorities.
- East Midlands Development Agency (emda): with partners Aegis Associates (Debra Blisson) and Profs Monder Ram and Sara Carter, researched the business support needs and experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic including a national and regional policy overview of women’s and minority ethnic business trends as well as lessons learned from international perspective.
- DTI / Small Business Service: coordinated, researched and authored ‘Investing in Success’ Phoenix Development Fund lessons learned project looking at specialist enterprise support to disadvantaged communities.
- DTI / Small Business Service: supporting the work of the Women’s Enterprise policy team as ‘Champion’ in support of the national WE Strategic Framework, including advocating WE to RDAs, the development of the WE Online Summit, the WE Task Force, BME Women in Enterprise project support.
- Prowess, women’s enterprise advocacy organization: strategy, policy and business development support; management of national consultations, research activities etc.