Friday, April 03, 2009

Merseyside African Business Forum

On Monday I was speaking at the inauguration of the Merseyside African Business Forum in the Police Club in Fairfield. Liam and I were there, Wendy sent her apologies, because we had partly funded the establishment of this important group from our Working Neighbourhoods Fund.

It is vital to the success of our economy that people are in work, and if there are no jobs for you - and if you think it is hard to get a job in Liverpool, imagine how much harder it is if you are black and English is not your first language - then you need to think very seriously about setting up in business and employing yourself. And of course a successful business can go on to employ others, which is also vital to our economy. I believe hugely in encouraging business start-ups which is one of the main reasons why I am an active member of Dream High.

It is also true that over 25% of the population of Kensington and Fairfield comes from the BME/BRM community and a big proportion of those are Africans, so it was a no-brainer to support an African business forum with a base in our ward.

Anthony Madume is the project co-ordinator and we will be working with him to ensure that new and existing businesses with African owners and managers are given all the support they need with business planning, advice over planning, change of use, business rates, PAYE, VAT, whatever it might be to get them over any barriers to success. We know from research that a lot of African businesses fail, we have lots of African shops in Kensington and Fairfield but they often don't last very long, so we do need to help them to be successful.

I was delighted to meet Dr Matan who is a real VIP in the Merseyside African business world. And also to hear a speech from Professor Tunde Zack Williams who I first heard at the AGM of the Liverpool African Association when he spoke convincingly about the need for BME/BRM people to put themselves forward for public office.

I do hope this project is a real success.

- we also enjoyed some lovely African food and my third taste of cassava in a week - for those of you who were counting. There is a photo but we might have to wait a while to see it.


Anonymous said...

do you know how we can contact the liverpool african association or indeed the african business forum?

Louise Baldock said...

Yes, send me an email and I will pass the contacts on. Email me at louise dot baldock at liverpool dot gov dot uk
I think the contact details are in that inbox

Anonymous said...

thanks , email sent