The Urban Dream Is Alive; THRIVE THROUGH CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
There are just days to go before a handful of entrepreneurs, dubbed Urban Dreamers, discover if their future is even brighter and more secure.
Next week decisions will be taken about the first finalists in Urban Dreams, an innovative business development programme that gives people from black and different ethnic minority communities a unique opportunity to turn their business ideas into reality.
Last July, 56 would-be entrepreneurs from the African Caribbean community in Handsworth, Aston and Lozells, between the ages of 20 and 55, signed up to take part with now six given the chance to pitch their ideas to financiers and decision makers next Wednesday, January 25th.
The project's coordinators, CETA received funding of pounds 8,000 from the Birmingham Employer Coalition and about pounds 3,000 from funds from the Phoenix Trust. No mainstream or local authority funding was received but funding in kind through business sponsorship teams has been calculated to be around pounds 70,000 to pounds 80,000.
Funding for training workshops came from Advantage West Midlands European Regional Development Fund through the Route 2 Investment Programme.
This support has enabled the final Urban Dreamers to work towards their dreams to overcome the challenges that face people starting off in business.
Business mentors have spent the months working with the participants to help structure credible business plans. Each participant has been offered the opportunity and training to pitch their businesses to financiers, and venture capitalists like Advantage Business Angels. Mike Bird, of Advantage Business Angels, said: "We receive about 100 enquiries a year from people who cannot qualify for our services because they lack the basic criteria of business skills and business planning.
"With the Urban Dreams initiative, CETA is beginning to bridge the huge gap between an enthusiastic person with a business idea and potential business finance from any one of a number of sources. Bridging this gap with mentoring and training will enable ABA to package finance for some of those 100 enquiries but funding has to be in place for CETA to handle each individual case. We trust the Government will make the resources available for this to happen."
The six businesses are Auto Complex, set up by Duane Williams, providing the latest car entertainment systems. Joel Graham-Blake heading up Cultiv8 Agency, a recruitment service specialist for the creative industry. …