A pilot programme has been launched in Wolverhampton to offer enterprise mentoring to black businesses in the city.

Wolverhampton Black Business Network (WBBN) has joined forces with HSBC UK, who are funding the scheme until the end of March 2022 and are providing mentors to support businesses across the city.

WBBN also plans to work with City of Wolverhampton Council through events and workshops to upskill small businesses to ensure they can take advantage of procurement opportunities.

Thirteen businesses have so far been recruited to the HSBC UK pilot.

It shows the city’s commitment to help minority ethnic business communities thrive – and supports the awareness being raised during Black History Month.

The pilot will also be showcased at the WBBN Annual Conference on Thursday 14 October, as part of the Black Country Business Festival (register at BCBF 2021 Tickets).  

Sam Duru, Executive Director at Wolverhampton Black Business Network, said: “We are delighted that HSBC UK noticed our previous track record in recruiting and managing an enterprise mentoring programme in the city.

“They have worked with us to design this pilot, which they hope will be a launchpad for their nationwide enterprise mentoring programme for minority ethnic businesses.

“We will be highlighting this at our Conference this year as part of our business engagement for the city.”

Businesses joining the pilot will receive support to develop growth strategies, understand key issues and drivers for business, receive assistance to develop their USPs, create brand awareness/marketing, develop networking support, improve business planning and budgeting including cash flow forecasts, and raising finance.

Andy Oates, Head of Corporate Banking West Midlands, HSBC UK, said: “We are committed to supporting the growth of BME businesses across the region as part of this programme, and are very excited to be working with WBBN to bring the Mentoring opportunity to the community.”

City of Wolverhampton Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor Stephen Simkins, said: “Wolverhampton has a proud tradition of being a rich and culturally diverse city and during Black History Month it is heartening to see schemes like this coming forward to support our minority ethnic business community.

“Once again Wolverhampton can do attitude has attracted a major global business to invest in our small businesses, recognising their huge creative and entrepreneurial potential.

“The city is pioneering the way with this pilot and as a Council, through our business development team and our Relight Business Programme, we will do all we can to support this fantastic initiative to help our black businesses prosper and create jobs.”

Anyone needing to know more about the programme should email wbbncic2020@gmail.com, call 07771734967 or visit Wolverhampton Black Business Network