Video report: A match-maker for minority entrepreneurs
Majid El Jarroudi helps connect entrepreneurs from ethnic minority backgrounds with large corporations in France. In part two of this five-part series profiling people making a positive difference in deprived neighbourhoods here in France, Majid tells RFI how entrepreneurs are helping to fight unemployment.
In France there is no lack of entrepreneurs from ethnic minority backgrounds. In fact there is twice the number of new businesses in deprived neighbourhoods, where the majority of immigrants live, than in other areas. However, these businesses are over thirty per more likely to fail.
What many of these entrepreneurs are lacking is the opportunity to network with representatives from large corporations, due to the social barriers that exist between poorer neighbourhoods and commercial centres.
But for the past year once a month a networking dinner for minority entrepreneurs takes place at a venue in central Paris. They are brought together to share their experiences and to get inspiration from business leaders.
Majid El Jarroudi, is the managing director of ADIVE, an organization that promotes diversity within French businesses. He explained how, by introducing these entrepreneurs to representatives of France’s largest corporations, jobs are created in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
“So basically we’re helping entrepreneurs located in the banlieues, and minority entrepreneurs aswell by connecting them with buyers from large corporations,” explained El Jarroudi, and added “By doing this we are helping entrepreneurs to grow their business and fight unemployment.”
While moves are being made to break down social barriers facing ethnic minority entrepreneurs, the biggest problem remains the perception people have of certain postcodes.
“Actually the challenges for the entrepreneurs in the banlieues are the same ones facing all entrepreneurs," said El Jarroudi. "But they have the additional problem of people thinking that they come from areas where there are only burning cars and rioting."
But once entrepreneurs from minority backgrounds are able to gain the trust of large corporations says El Jarroudi, “they can help open up new markets for large French companies in their country of origin.”