Published on 29/02/2024
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  • It was announced at 'Time to Change: Power of Partnerships' event at John Cadbury House
  • The money will see the creation of three community-led business support hubs
  • The Centre for Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME), in collaboration with NatWest, launched Time to Change in 2022.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, has announced a £250,000 funding boost for community-led business hubs to support ethnic minority businesses during an event hosted by Aston University.

The Centre for Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME), in collaboration with NatWest, launched Time to Change: A blueprint for advancing the UK’s ethnic minority, in 2022 inviting policymakers, corporations and entrepreneurs to come together to form collaborative partnerships to advance entrepreneurial activities and the UK’s diverse communities.

It highlighted ten evidence-based, actionable recommendations to drive inclusion in policy, finance, and business support, which if achieved would increase the ethnic minority business share of the UK’s GVA (gross value added) to £100bn.

The event, Time to Change: Power of Partnerships, was hosted in the Enterprise Hub at the University’s corporate headquarters by the Centre for Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME) on 21 February. The CREME team was joined by key partners to discuss how it is collaborating to implement the Time to Change report and how partners can all support this movement.

Professor Aleks Subic, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Aston University, delivered an opening speech underlining how CREME and the report have been pillars of the University and are key to the Aston 2030 strategy.

Professor Aleks Subic, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Aston University, delivered an opening speech underlining the importance of CREME’s Report, which calls for strong action to eliminate the longstanding systemic challenges of discouragement of ethnic minority entrepreneurs from seeking finance and business support. This is central to achieving inclusive growth in our region and beyond and is aligned with Aston University’s focus on enabling positive social-economic transformation.

The mayor presented the keynote presentation, stating that the potential of Time to Change report is now being translated and announced the creation of three community-led business support hubs. He also announced that the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) was allocating £250,000 to support these hubs, which will serve as local centres for fostering business growth, bringing together the West Midlands community.

Professor Monder Ram (director, CREME) and Sharniya Ferdinand (Enterprise Community Strategy director, NatWest) provided closing statements.

Professor Ram said:

“Thank you to everyone who joined us today for this captivating and powerful event.

“We had the movers and shakers in the UK's business support community who are helping us realise a £100 billion prize for the UK.

“The support from this event has been absolutely amazing. It's clear that we've got the commitment, we've got the passion and we've got the way forward. Let's work together work together to unlock that money for the economy by releasing the potential of all the country’s, diverse entrepreneurs.”

Sharniya Ferdinand said:

“This partnership with CREME is important to us because we know that in order to make the biggest impact, we have to work with credible partners and there's no organisation that's more knowledgeable about ethnic minority entrepreneurship.

The great thing about the work that we've done together is we started off with the research, making sure that we had the evidence base, we made the recommendations and now we are moving forward to implement those recommendations.

“Being able to engage with different organisations at policy level, grassroots and organisational is one of the keys to our success. We have always said that collaboration is key, especially with others who share our vision, values, and want to make the same impact that we do. It has been a dream come true.”

Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said:

"Our ethnic minority businesses already make an important contribution to our economy and with the right support they can achieve even more.

“That’s why the WMCA has already provided workshops to help small businesses owners from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic backgrounds improve their skills to help their enterprises to flourish.

“So, I’m pleased that the WMCA is now contributing £250,000 towards these three community-led business support hubs, supporting the commitments outlined in the Time to Change Report.

“The West Midlands aims to lead the way in delivering the strategies set out in the report, collaborating with our partners to keep our region at the forefront of innovation and progress in the months and years to come.”

Find out more about the Time To Change Report here.

Notes to Editors

About Aston University

For over a century, Aston University’s enduring purpose has been to make our world a better place through education, research and innovation, by enabling our students to succeed in work and life, and by supporting our communities to thrive economically, socially and culturally.

Aston University’s history has been intertwined with the history of Birmingham, a remarkable city that once was the heartland of the Industrial Revolution and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.

Born out of the First Industrial Revolution, Aston University has a proud and distinct heritage dating back to our formation as the School of Metallurgy in 1875, the first UK College of Technology in 1951, gaining university status by Royal Charter in 1966, and becoming The Guardian University of the Year in 2020.

Building on our outstanding past, we are now defining our place and role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (and beyond) within a rapidly changing world.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44) 7446 910063 or email:

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