The Charter recognises that the current UK enterprise ecosystem does not provide sufficient, fair and productive access to entrepreneurship for all, especially for underrepresented social groups, such as women, ethnic minorities, young people, migrants and people experiencing disabilities who face distinctive barriers to entrepreneurship.
Findings from the 2022/23 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor showed that the average rate of women’s enterprise activity across 2020-22 in Northern Ireland was approximately three-fifths of the male enterprise rate, with significant variability across council areas. According to the Alison Rose Review 2023, the lower rate of women’s enterprise activity across the UK represents an estimated loss of £250 billion per year from a missing one million small to medium-sized enterprises.
The Charter for Inclusive Entrepreneurship was created by Dr Lorna Treanor, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Nottingham University Business School. It aims to facilitate equitable access to, and improved outcomes from, entrepreneurship for all individuals – regardless of their personal characteristics or backgrounds. This is achieved through signatories creating a more inclusive ecosystem through designing and delivering inclusive recruitment, procurement, and service delivery practices, including targeted and nuanced business support and enterprise education provision.
By signing up to the Charter, UUBS is pledging its support to minimise barriers to entrepreneurship, with actions grouped across five key areas:
- Promoting diverse role models across the enterprise ecosystem
- Delivering inclusive enterprise support
- Enabling lifelong learning of entrepreneurship education
- Ensuring equal access to enterprise finance
- Implementing measurable targets for inclusive enterprise
Professor Sandra Moffett, (Interim) Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of Ulster University Business School, said:
“Entrepreneurship plays a crucial role in driving forward innovation, job creation, and economic growth and serves as a catalyst for social inclusion by providing individuals with opportunities to generate employment. Embracing a Charter dedicated to supporting inclusive enterprise for underrepresented communities not only upholds our values at Ulster University Business School, but also marks a significant step forward in our ongoing commitment to cultivating an equitable and thriving entrepreneurial landscape. We look forward to building on the positive work being done in this area.”
As part of its efforts in promoting inclusive enterprise, UUBS developed the first positioning report on ethnic minority and migrant entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland in partnership with the Ethnic Minority Employment & Entrepreneurship Network which shed light on the challenges and opportunities faced by local ethnic minority and migrant entrepreneurs.
Dr Lorna Treanor, University of Nottingham, commented:
“The charter offers a framework to enable more appropriate policy, education, training and advisory support and so, equitable outcomes from entrepreneurship for all individuals, regardless of their background, personal characteristics or location. It does this through fostering a partnership approach; by developing a joined-up ecosystem of individuals, organisations, agencies, and enterprises committed to supporting greater equality of opportunity and outcomes.”
Find out more by visiting Charter for Inclusive Entrepreneurship website.