Charter launched to promote ‘inclusive ecosystem’ for East Midlands entrepreneurs

Picture shows: Professor Katherine Linehan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and People at the University of Nottingham and Professor Todd Landman, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham and The Women’s Organisation have developed a new Charter to facilitate a more inclusive ecosystem for entrepreneurs in the East Midlands and beyond.

The Charter for inclusive entrepreneurship aims to minimise barriers to and enhance outcomes from entrepreneurship for all, especially underrepresented groups.

The University of Nottingham, the East Midlands Chamber, D2N2 and the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship are some of the first signatories.

Dr Lorna Treanor, Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Nottingham Business School, said: “Under-represented social groups, such as women, ethnic minorities, young people, migrants and people experiencing disabilities face distinctive barriers to entrepreneurship. For example, less than 1p of every £1 invested in the UK in 2017 was invested in all women-owned businesses; Black women face even greater barriers when trying to access such finance, receiving only 0.02p per £1 of total investment finance over a ten year period in the UK.

“Inclusive entrepreneurship can be enabled through a partnership approach by developing a joined-up regional ecosystem of individuals, organisations, agencies, and enterprises committed to supporting greater equality of opportunity and outcomes.”

Shari Leigh, founder of the Black Business Network, said: “Black Business Network is honoured to be joining the Charter as a signatory to this ecosystem. We strongly believe to facilitate growth and changed outcomes for under-represented entrepreneurs, that organisations, networks and resource hubs need to work together to create a pipeline that supports and empowers entrepreneurs through every stage of their journey.

“The charter is a fantastic model to organise this for the East Midlands, and one we will be working to replicate across the country. We look forward to sharing the opportunities and access showcased by the Charter with the entrepreneurs and business owners in our network and championing its growth where we can.”

Professor Katherine Linehan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and People at the University of Nottingham, added: “The university is very proud of the work undertaken by Dr Treanor and colleagues into highlighting and supporting underrepresented social groups. We are delighted to be a signatory to the Charter, which will be a very valuable tool in accelerating our work in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the university.”

The Charter outlines core principles for implementing and supporting an inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem in East Midlands across five key areas: Promoting diverse role models across the enterprise ecosystem; Delivering inclusive enterprise support; Enabling lifelong learning of entrepreneurship education; Ensuring equal access to enterprise finance; Implementing measurable targets for inclusive enterprise policy and procurement practices.

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