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New business network is launched

A new business network which will champion the growth and development of black-owned companies has been launched by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC). 

The GBCC Black Business Collective is a free subscriber network offering black business owners and professionals a platform to meet, learn, stay connected and discover new opportunities. The initiative has been proposed and developed by a committee of black business leaders who will steer its future activities.  

Subscribers are set to benefit from access to a dedicated GBCC Black Business Collective quarterly event, invitations to free events across the wider GBCC group and a quarterly digital bulletin featuring insights and opportunities for the black business community. 

Leading the GBCC Black Business Collective will be chair Alex Cole (CEO TIN Ventures) and honorary president Karl George (head of governance at RSM and GBCC board member). They are supported by vice-chairs Justice Williams (co-founder and editor-in-chief Black Business Magazine) and Keith Shayaam-Smith (CEO Legacy Centre for Excellence). 

Joining them on the committee are Yetunde Dania (head of office Trowers & Hamlins LLP), Rebekah Taitt (regional development director for the Midlands Lloyds Bank) and Denise Morris (founder TAG Network Midlands). 

Lloyds Banking Group and law firm Trowers & Hamlins are founding partners of the GBCC Black Business Collective. 

Alex Cole, chair of the GBCC Black Business Collective, said: “I’m genuinely delighted to be joining my esteemed colleagues in bringing this vision to life. I want to see more black-led businesses grow, scale and reach their global potential.  

“The GBCC Black Business Collective presents a huge opportunity to work collectively across community, private, public, education sectors and beyond to enhance the existing business support, ESG, and innovation ecosystems to facilitate sustainable growth.  

“We look forward to using the many years of data and research now available on the need and opportunity for proactive, tailored solutions for the black business community, to inform the work of the Collective.” 

Karl George, honorary president of the GBCC Black Business Collective, said: “I’m delighted to have played a key role in creating the GBCC Black Business Collective as a non-executive director of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.  

“The Collective is a true collaboration; both between members of the black business community, and with the Chamber. I look forward to seeing it continue to connect and amplify opportunities for black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs and grow its impact over the coming months and years.” 

Henrietta Brealey, CEO of the GBCC, said: “The GBCC Black Business Collective is an exciting new partnership between our Chamber and black business community networks.  At the Chamber, we are here to help all businesses in Greater Birmingham, from start-ups to multinationals, unleash their potential.  

“We recognise that in order to be truly inclusive, we must directly engage with the very practical needs of our communities. The GBCC BBC offers subscribers access to a simple programme of events and communications tailored to the needs of the black business community as well as connections into wider free GBCC activity. 

“We are proud to be working with Karl, Alex and the GBCC BBC committee to make this network by and for the community. Together, they have highlighted the need to create a space to convene and connect the brilliant individuals and organisations working with the black business community, give the community a voice and bridge the gaps identified in years of research on interventions to support the success of the Black business community.” 

Find out more information about the GBCC Black Business Collective at www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com/bbc