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Helping create businesses from different backgrounds



Helping create businesses from different backgrounds

BCU researchers are improving business prospects for the world’s most developing demographics, from assessing African and Chinese migrant entrepreneurs in Birmingham to building economic success and growth in Africa.

BCU PhD researchers are improving employability and business prospects for some of the world’s most developing demographics. From assessing the experiences of African and Chinese migrant entrepreneurs in Birmingham to building economic success and growth in areas of sub-Saharan Africa, Birmingham City University’s postgraduate researchers are ensuring starting a business in emerging areas is both successful and sustainable.

Shaping Birmingham’s future businesspeople

Our researchers are assessing entrepreneurship on a regional, as well as global, level. Researcher Xiping Shinnie’s project uses her past experience in linguistics and cultural studies to examine entrepreneurship for ethnic minorities in Birmingham.

Xiping is focusing on African and Chinese minority migrant entrepreneurs breaking into mainstream Birmingham economies. She chose to focus on Birmingham due to its broad demographic and global appeal. Xiping’s research is designed to help these minorities break out of cultural stereotypes and people’s perceptions of their cultural identities. This will then result in not only more positive and contemporary views of Black and Chinese minorities, but also free them of unfair stigmas and associations that are holding their businesses back.

Keeping in close contact with Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, Xiping’s project is also designed to help government bodies to produce effective policies and strategies. These will then support minority businesses to break out of their niche market, while it also hoped that initiatives are formed to assist these minority enterprises to not only enter the mainstream market, but thrive within it.

If you are a local entrepreneur or start-up from a Black or Chinese ethnic minority, or are looking to start a business, get in touch to see how Xiping can assist you.

Helping improve employability in Africa

Our researchers are also looking far beyond Birmingham. Principally, Africa has been outlined as one of the world’s most exciting areas, with both investors and entrepreneurs seeing long-term benefits. Uganda, specifically, is the world’s most entrepreneurial country, but its success rate for businesses remains poor.

Researcher Dennis Aguma is assessing why so few start-ups survive. “Peoples’ businesses don’t flourish as there’s a skills gap,” he explains. “The education system isn’t equipped to help our students survive in entrepreneurship.” This led to Dennis creating the National Association of Student Enterprises (NASE), which hosts regular events, has enterprises at Uganda’s biggest universities and ensures graduates looking for work possess both a degree and the soft skills every successful businessman needs.

Alongside his endeavours in Uganda, Dennis has hands-on experience of setting up business incubation centres, as well as offering structural support for SMEs, start-ups and enterprise programmes in the UK.

Improving agricultural business

Another researcher assessing starting a business in Africa is James Jinazali, whose project focuses on Malawi. One of the world’s poorest countries, Malawi’s main source of income comes from agriculture. “It’s a key driver, but failure to direct adequate finance and technology results in low production, out-of-date practices and more,” James explains. “Small and medium agricultural entrepreneurs (SMAEs)’ access to finance and technology remains a major challenge.”

James’ product will identify and examine viable models of financing SMAEs’ acquisition of agricultural equipment. “Access to finance for these businesses will provide them with modern farming technologies, having a positive impact on productivity and profitability,” James says. “It is a key step towards eradicating poverty.”

Interested in collaborating with the researchers discussed?



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