Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Secret of Black and Asian Success

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Secret of Black and Asian Success

Article excerpt

Byline: By Rebekah Ashby

The number of black and minority ethnic (BME) business start-ups in the UK has rocketed, with the North-East now home to more than 5,000 BME-owned businesses.

The number of UK BMEs has risen by a third, from 32,000 in 2000 to 50,000 in 2004, and about 1,000 BMEs were started in the North-East last year alone, according to a new survey by Barclays.

Last night, BME business leaders in the region cited family values and family involvement as the main reasons why the businesses succeed.

The growth in numbers is also bolstered by real success, with BME business performance outstripping that of their white counterparts, says the survey.

Businesses owned by black and ethnic-minority people are three times more likely to have a turnover between pounds 250k and pounds 1m and to employ staff.

Rumana Zahn, who set up her natural health therapy business in Newcastle four years ago, thinks the reason lots of ethnic-minority people go into business for themselves is because of values instilled in them as children.

She said: "I have certainly noticed that there are more of these businesses around, but I wasn't sure if that was because I am part of the community myself.

"In a cultural sense, it's very much drummed into us as children to succeed and to do our best in everything. We are also brought up in families where people run businesses, so we are taught by example.

"In the Asian culture it is expected that you will have a good career as a doctor or lawyer or go into business for yourself ( there is potential to do more than just work for someone else.

"There is also more business support available and we are now seeing more ethnic minorities go into the industries. The entrepreneur, who employs one full-time and one part-time member of staff at Rumana Health, says she is encouraged to see more women setting up their own businesses.

She said: "I read an article about a Pakistani female singer who was quite successful but she had quite a lot of threat letters from the Muslim male community because she was doing things which culturally were not approved of. …

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