03 Oct Black Pound Day: ‘It’s about recognition, opportunity and having our voices heard’ | UK News
Black business leaders are calling for greater “recognition and opportunity” and not just financial sales to mark this month’s Black Pound Day.
Falling on the first Saturday of each month, it encourages people to shop in person or online at black-owned businesses.
The event was first held in June this year and has brought in more than £100,000 in revenue for black-owned firms.
“It’s a platform for me to showcase my work, something that I can stand on quite proudly and not be seen as an underdog,” said London-based wedding dress designer Cynthia Grafton-Holt.
“The entry point into our industry is the easy part. But being taken seriously as a strong business that’s going places, that’s the problem. It puts our businesses right out there. It’s about recognition, opportunity and having our voices heard.”
Currently in the UK just 1.5% of management and senior positions are filled by black people.
“I would like to see more transparency in terms of the ethnicity pay gap and employers taking action,” said Sandra Kerr, race equality director at Business In The Community.
“It’s hugely disappointing when you look at how long black people have been in Britain that there isn’t better representation. The Windrush generation came here 70 years ago or so, and they and their children and grandchildren should be better represented by now.”
Khalia Ismain launched the Jamii discount card which offers incentives and discounts for people shopping at black-owned businesses. She said Black Pound Day has already become extremely important in terms of getting the word out there about thriving black businesses.
“Black-owned businesses are more likely to hire from the community and that creates employment,” said the 27-year-old, who came up with the idea at college and now has 200 companies participating.
“Sometimes you can see people’s faces changing the moment you say the word ‘black’ and that’s really disheartening. It’s like something glazes over their eyes. That can be really de-motivating.
“It’s really important that we get more recognition because often black businesses are creating products that serve the black community and allow us to cherish our own culture.”
The ethnicity pay gap in Britain is estimated to be £3.2bn.