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My work with businesses covers a range of initiatives and different types of partnerships where I have engaged with and supported thousands of businesses. I have established a range of mechanisms to ensure City Hall is learning from business through bodies such as my Business Advisory Board, the London Economic Action Partnership and the London Business Board. This work will continue and is expanding rapidly as we develop partnerships and programmes to help businesses survive the Coronavirus epidemic.
It is a priority for me to reach entrepreneurs that face particular barriers to starting and succeeding in business. This has included roundtables with under-represented groups, an annual entrepreneurs’ summit and establishing relationships with a wide range of BAME and women entrepreneur networks.
I am proud that programmes like my London Co-Investment Fund is investing in women and BAME owned businesses, with 22 per cent of my investments being in women-owned businesses and 20 per cent BAME owned. These levels are unprecedented in investment finance in the UK.
I am also supporting programmes like ‘Start-Up Step Up’ which provides participants from under-represented groups with tailored support to encourage the development of an entrepreneurial mind-set. The project supports SMEs to identify gaps and increase the skills levels of employees, to encourage progression in employment and business growth. This is an approach that I am supporting at City Hall too through the ‘Our Time – Future Leaders’ programme, a talent development programme for women.