Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic business founders across the West Midlands are being offered free places on workshops to help boost their businesses as the region continues its economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

To coincide with the launch of Black History Month, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is running a series of workshops covering topics such as how to launch a business and creating a better online presence.

After taking the workshops the business owners will know how to develop a better understanding of their customer profile and journey, as well as how to make their business stand out from their competitors and how to better sell their business.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and former managing director of John Lewis, said: “Even despite the pandemic the West Midlands remains one of the leading areas in the country for start-ups, with someone of our best success stories coming from diverse backgrounds.

“But if we want to keep up our momentum we need to ensure that business owners are being given the support they need to flourish. That’s why we are running these workshops to help small businesses owners from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic backgrounds improve their skills to help their enterprises flourish and ultimately make an important contribution to the wider West Midlands economy.”

Fifty places are on offer and the classes will start on October 19 and will run until December 7. On the final day each start up owner will use their new knowledge to deliver a professional business pitch in front of a panellist.

Professor Monder Ram OBE is the director of the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship at Aston University. He said: “It’s excellent to see expert ‘hands-on’ support being provided to the region’s Black and Ethnic Minority businesses. We know that they contribute upwards of £25 billion to the economy.

“Black and Ethnic Minority businesses are also more productive, growth-oriented and likely to trade internationally than their white counterparts. These qualities will be much needed as the region and country seeks to ‘build back better’.

“But Black and Ethnic Minority businesses sometimes do not get the support they need to prosper. This initiative begins to address an important gap as the region positions itself to build on the talents of all its communities.”