Hackney Council vows to support BAME businesses who feel ‘marginalised by gentrification’

Cllr Mete Coban.

Cllr Mete Coban. - Credit: Archant

Some Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) businesses in Hackney say they feel sidelined by gentrification in the borough, and don’t get the support from the council.

The town hall’s business scrutiny commission, chaired by Cllr Mete Coban, hosted a business engagement meeting in July with 23 BAME traders to get a better understanding of the reasons why they are not joining the council’s business forums that provide help to firms across the borough.

Many simply didn’t know they existed, and took the opportunity to say they did not feel the full benefit of the borough’s economic growth and that the town hall needs to do more to communicate and work with them.

“Quite a few” felt the council prioritised supporting big business, or particular kinds of start-ups, over existing small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Cllr Coban said he and others had now drawn up plans to act on the comments, and they would go before officers in the coming weeks. They would then go through the normal processes before potentially being enacted.

“The plan was to make sure we spoke to businesses who don’t often get to have their say,” he said. “We live in a time that’s very difficult for businesses, particularly SMEs. If you’re a BAME business you may not be aware of some of the support the council offers because of language barriers.”