Birmingham, September 30 2018
Kamall: Let’s help so-called left-behinds become entrepreneurs
Radical plans for nurturing entrepreneurship in poor and troubled
neighbourhoods were aired at a Birmingham conference fringe event by
free-thinking Conservative MEP Syed Kamall.
And one proposal was to help people who are struggling financially to turn themselves into entrepreneurs.
Dr Kamall, Conservative MEP for London, told a meeting organised by
the Bright Blue think tank that both Left and Right had failed the
“left behind” sections of society and new approaches to finance and
funding were needed to reach them.
He spoke of the thousands of local community projects in London
helping local communities, driven not by government or by large NGOs
but by local people. Often they were in areas written of by media as
hotbeds of crime or places of fear.
But, he said: “Often they are also hubs of enterprise. Now some may
well be engaged in the informal economy or even illegal activity, but
they are entrepreneurs nonetheless.
“One of the things I have discussed with many of these projects is how
to bring more of this entrepreneurial activity into the formal economy
and to make them sustainable.”
He described how financial exclusion and poverty prevented poor people
from borrowing to launch businesses and said: “I am trying to play my
part by working with local projects helping the left behind to access
credit, budget, manage debt, so more of them think about starting
enterprises that create jobs for themselves and their neighbours.”
He told how for 10 years he had been making micro-loans through the
website Kiva to entrepreneurs around the world – but was unable to do the
same for enterprises in the UK.
“After years of false starts and changes in legislation I have
partnered with a micro-finance organisation called The Fredericks
Foundation which for the last 12 years has been making loans to
financially challenged entrepreneurs across the UK,” said Dr Kamall.
“Together we are about to launch a lending website called Friendly
Lending, that will allow anyone to lend to an entrepreneur who would
otherwise not have access to finance.
“In a post-Brexit Britain, I hope that we as a country can change our
mindset and view those we currently call the left behind as potential
entrepreneurs – with opportunities to improve their lives and their
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