13/04/17 West of England Mayoral Election 2017 BAME Roundtable Event, Part 1


In order to provide the opportunity to speak with as many candidates as possible, BSWN in partnership with Business West decided to host the BAME Roundtable Event in two parts. Part 1 hosted the Liberal Democrat candidate Stephen Williams, and the discussion was chaired by the founder of 91 Ways, Kalpna Woolf. 

Stephen Williams Manifesto quotes:

“One of the main challenges we face is that the prosperity in Bristol is not currently shared evenly, socially and geographically.”

“Diversity is a strength, not a threat. And cities that prosper are the ones that make the best use of its diverse population. The Regional Mayor needs to be the person who brings people together.”

“Larger employers see it as vital to have employees represent the general population.”

Campaign promises recorded at the meeting: 

A.   To showcase success stories of BAME-led businesses to encourage investment
B.   It is difficult for businesses to secure premises dues to such high rents, so I would want to build or manage spaces that can be offered to start ups

Geographical focus as Metro Mayor: 

A. Economically deprived areas such a Lawrence Hill and Barton Hill Settlement that have high BAME populations
B. Promoting success of Stapleton Road with BAME-led businesses as one of the mostsuccessful high streets in Bristol

Other focus areas related to BAME inequality in Bristol: 

A.    Employment - “I think one of the things the Regional Mayorcan do is work with larger employers to identify what are the barriers and discuss showcasing different aspects of business and successful black-led business. This is a problem for both BAME and white working class boys. I want to bring the businesses into the communities.”

B.    Education and capturing young talent - “We need to also focus on the universities, University of Bristol and University in Bath who have a lot of students from London coming to study in Bristol, to encourage and provide incentive for students to stay in Bristol.”

C.    Support for businesses - “The funding pot available to the Regional Mayor is doing away with a lot of rules for funding, including restriction on funding for retail. What I can do is set a part of this funding aside specifically to help grow social enterprises and start ups, and to provide support for existing businesses. There is also a great export opportunity that is being missed out on. BME people who have families and other ties outside of UK would be great to be engaged with. And working with UK TI could help us get ideas on how to expand locally owned businesses.”

D.    Access to economy driving skills in BAME communities - “It is a question of aspiration and making people see that they can participate in industries that are economy drivers. I think there needs to be some breaking down of barriers and showing young BAME people that they can be leading scientists for example.

E.    Lack of engagement and economic activity in some BAME communities - “The skills budget for 2018 will be looking at who is not participating, inclusive of BAME women. If you don’t have full confidence with the English language, you are already held back from participating in the society and the workplace. We want to provide English language classes.”

F.    Voice for BAME communities - “I have always seen it as a part of my role to meet the people who live on the margin”