London’s ethnic beauty sector to get a make over

Female entrepreneurs receive boost in the capital

London’s female entrepreneurs are to get a £100,000 cash boost through two new projects designed to support the capitals ethnic beauty sector.

The schemes, announced by Mayor Ken Livingstone, are designed to increase the number of female business owners in the capital after research by the London Development Agency (LDA) revealed that only 20 per cent of firms in the capital were owned by women, compared to 72 per cent owned by men.

One initiative will help female inventors develop their beauty product ideas in workshops, focusing on subjects such as exporting and the protection of intellectual property and will also provide networking opportunities.

Research also revealed that 29 per cent of London’s female business owners were black, compared to 21 per cent who were white.

The second project reflects these findings and will help develop the ethnic minority hair and beauty sector in London directly, a sector dominated by female entrepreneurs.

It will help to encourage collaboration between salons in order to obtain better deals from suppliers as well as improve technology.

Encouragingly, the GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) published by the London Business School in January, showed that the gap between male and female business owners is continuing to narrow.

In 2004 for every 100 male entrepreneurs there were 46 women who started their own business, compared with 43 in the previous year.

Simi Belo, owner of Immiis, inventor of award winning hair product ‘New Hair’, said: “There are more professional women from ethnic backgrounds than ever before in Britain and across the world.

“Their extra spending power means there are lucrative business opportunities that women innovators and inventors are well-placed to exploit.”

However, despite the number of female entrepreneurs rising in recent years, the numbers are still far below those seen in the USA, with women feeling that the ‘glass ceiling’ to success still existed.

Manny Lewis, chief executive of the LDA, said: “While some ethnic minority businesses have been amongst the most enterprising and innovative in the capital, some have been more successful than others at exploiting their skills and products in the market place.

“This is great news for London’s ethnic minority business women which will help unlock their untapped talent. In doing so, the schemes will benefit both the individual women on the schemes and London’s economy as a whole.”


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