Northern Asian Powerhouse launches extended Business Barometer

The Northern Asian Powerhouse (NAP) launched an extended business barometer covering a range of ethnic minorities at the House of Commons last week.

The team, led by NAP and Yorkshire Asian Business Association founder Sharon Jandu, will work with York University to research SMEs across the north of England for the NAP Ethnic Minority Business Barometer.|

Jandu said, “While the key projects I am involved in represent the Asian business world, it has become more and more noticeable that ethnic minorities as a whole are underrepresented.  This includes a much wider field including white minorities such as Gypsy, Roma and Irish Traveller groups.  Basically groups within a community which have different national or cultural traditions from the main population.

“The more we can understand the economic environment that these groups are working in, the more we can support them too. I want our work to be fully inclusive, so that we represent all minorities in the North of England.”

The idea for the barometer evolved from the publication of The Time to Change Report produced by the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME), at Aston University.

This report recommended gathering better data on entrepreneurial diversity to enable more evidence-based policymaking.

Jandu added, “The report identified that the contribution of ethnic minority businesses to the UK economy could increase four-fold from £25bn to £100bn by realising the changes in the report.  This is a huge offering to the economy, but to support the relevant businesses, we need to understand which areas they need assistance, to then pursue policy changes that will enable this help.” 

The Ethnic Minority Business barometer will review the impact on businesses from Brexit, Covid and more, check for trends and measure movement.  The longer-term goal is policy-driven data, which can be reviewed by a judging panel. 

Jandu said, “This barometer is a really important step forwards to help determine business confidence levels and give an insight into emerging economic trends which will help forecasting and forward planning. We aim to cover a range of subjects such as business activity and economic optimism, to wages, staff levels and prices charged. Comparing these across the region will also be insightful. This is an exciting and revolutionary project, that I hope businesses will support and get involved with, to enable us to help and support them in return.”

Craig Beaumont, chief of external affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “The business barometer is a great idea, as the more data we have on funding and opportunity gaps for ethnic minority-owned businesses and for entrepreneurs from marginalised groups, the more can be done to offer additional support. FSB is proud to back this launch, and we are very much looking forward to seeing the impact the barometer will have, so that the potential and talents of businesspeople from ethnic minority groups can be allowed to flourish even more, boosting prosperity, and reducing inequality.”

Patrick Hurley, the Royal Society of Arts’ North of England manager said, “The business  barometer is a key tool in ensuring diversity in our entrepreneur community across the North of England. Accurate data on the make-up of SMEs and microbusinesses is essential in targeting resources effectively and implementing the right policy proposals that will add the most to the UK economy. The NAP are filling a much-needed gap in our collective knowledge through this new initiative.”

The event at the House Commons  also supported the launch of the Northern Asian Power List 2023, which will be celebrated at the YABA Gala dinner in Bradford next week.