This paper constitutes the first systematic national study on Minority Ethnic Businesses (MEBs) in Scotland. The study used a combination of research methods including secondary data from the 2001 Census, data on self-employment rates, quantitative analysis of the baseline dataset, 41 in-depth qualitative interviews and a further 32 interviews with key informants. The in-depth interviews revealed great contrasts between the experience of MEB-owners in different locations, sectors and markets. MEB-owners in declining sectors and markets have adopted coping strategies that draw upon innovation in service and product provision and in adding value; there is also evidence of successful diversification and breaking into new markets. The interviews also indicate additional issues of diversification, crime, security, insurance and racism. We suggest that diversity can be seen as a source of creativity and innovation, and that policies be developed to help promote diversification. A key issue for policy-makers is the development of initiatives that improve communication and engagement with MEBs, and provide incentives such as targeted procurement policies. There is also a need to develop links with community leaders or with organisations that represent MEB-owners.
- Minority Ethnic Business