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46 INTERVIEW René Carayol minority businesses. Legislation is also more enlightened than it is here. It would be helpful for many of the ethnic minority businesses to understand the “rules of engagement” and also for the large organisations to move away from the safety first procurement practices. Q So how would you describe the situation of ethnic minority businesses in the UK at present? There was a recent report in the Financial Times newspaper which commented on the increasing success of ethnic minority businesses in the UK. I have some concerns about steering down this road of measuring businesses by the racial background of their owners. I am not convinced that this really helps us as it just smacks of more segregation. However as an indicator of opportunity for all, the UK is definitely moving in the right direction. Given my experience some communities will find this a lot harder than others especially when traced back to countries of origin when their backgrounds are not immersed in trading, retailing or activities of commerce. But where we are seeing huge growth is the rise and rise of senior executives in large organisations with minority backgrounds. It is worth noting that at the turn of the last century many Eastern European Jews who were driven out of Eastern Europe by the horrific pogroms A arrived in the UK with nothing more than “the shirts on their back”, they tended to be male and many had to leave their families behind. This forced displacement and oppressive background led to many of them having an attitude of nothing to lose. It is not hard to understand why many Asian families with backgrounds as traders have come to the UK and succeeded and perhaps we have unreasonable expectations of many immigrants who came here in the ‘50s and ‘60s to fill in the jobs the indigenous population didn’t want to do. need to take some risks, especially the large government department with billions to spend but their narrow minded, risk–free approach to procurement usually leads them to huge North American companies with the scale, track record and financial clout to deliver boring and unspectacular services with no risk. This does not just exclude minority businesses but tends to exclude everyone but the really huge players. Q So, although René, it appears that you eat, drink and sleep business, how do you like to spend your spare time, however much or little that you get? I have two inspirations at the moment and they enable me to hang around the best. I am a season ticket holder at Chelsea Football Club and I dine far too often at Locanda Locatelli, the best Italian restaurant in Europe! A Q And if you had 100 days to change the UK’s focus on supplier diversity, what would you do? I would break down and throw away the impenetrable procurement processes used by large organisations in the public and private sector. In order for smaller organisations to proceed larger organisations Jesse Jackson and René Cara 彰Ёٕͥ]ɭ́ȁ1()()I Ʌ彰́ѡѡȁa ɅєYdЁݥѹ́ѡ ɽɅa55ɗdɕՕЁٽIԁ1ٔɕձȁՕЁM ɕЁ9̸()%MMUQ]<((0