A year on from its inception, members of the Sustainable Scale Up Cluster special interest group, Bridging the Gap, reflect on how forming the group has benefitted its members in a series of videos as part of Black History Month.

Formed in 2021, the aim of Bridging the Gap is to tackle obstacles faced by ethnic minority entrepreneurs and community members to starting and growing businesses, as highlighted in research undertaken by the British Business Bank and also evidenced by the Rose Report.

The group is led by food entrepreneur Maggie Ogunbanwo, who is also a member of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, and TEDx speaker and Inclusion and Diversity award winner Bernie Davies.   Commenting on the development of the Bridging the Gap group, Maggie said, “Back in Autumn 2021, we were very proud to host a tour of BlasCymru/TasteWales to showcase the talent and innovation of the Welsh food and drink sector.  Members of our group were able to meet with experts and finance providers who could support them with their business ideas and growth”.  Taking up the story, Bernie added “Many positive impacts have been seen by the group’s members, including increased business confidence and improved financial awareness. Black History Month has been the ideal opportunity to catch up and reflect on how the support of the Sustainable Scale Up Cluster has impacted on their businesses over the last 12 months. We’re now busy planning the next phase of Bridging the Gap’s support, which includes 1:1 mentoring and finance webinars. We look forward to seeing what results they will deliver for the group”

Sustainable Scale Up Cluster Manager Andrew Macpherson, who is working closely with the group, explains “The Sustainable Scale Up Cluster formed Bridging the Gap to provide ethnic minority food and drink business owners in Wales with improved access to information about the food and drink sectors, better access to the right finance and opportunities to start and grow a food or drink business in Wales. So it is really encouraging to watch Maggie and Bernie’s interviews with members of the group and hear about their successes”  

Welsh Government Minister for Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said: “I am pleased to hear about the ongoing success of the Bridging the Gap Special Interest Group, reflecting the diversity of our wonderful food and drink sector. 

“The stories told as part of October’s Black History Month are inspiring.The diversity of our food and drink entrepreneurs contributes to innovation, bringing fresh ideas, tastes and products to our sector.  This helps our sector to be agile and responsive to changing consumer demands who value authenticity and experience.”

You can watch Maggie and Bernie’s interviews with Bridging the Gap members HERE

This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government. Delivered by BIC Innovation.

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