engage magazine issue 007/\'08 - Page 48

48 RESEARCH Economic and Social Research Are their voices being heard? Turkish and Chinese Businesses in London Small businesses are one of the customer groups of the Councils. Like all the other groups, they expect the Councils to respond to their needs for support. rs Altinay and Wang, from Oxford Brookes University and Royal Holloway University of London highlight the importance of the Councils in enabling small ethnic minority businesses to survive in a highly competitive environment. These scholars indicate that the question of ‘how customer focused are Dr Catherine L Wang, BA, MSc and PhD Senior Lecturer in Strategy D London local councils?’ deserves special attention. Drs Altinay and Wang have completed a project commissioned by the Economic and Social Research Council. The findings indicate that Dr Levent Altinay, BSc, MSc and PhD Reader in Strategic Management in the Service Industry. local Councils need to improve its services to the ethnic minority owned businesses. The results of the study revealed that Councils need to understand better the competences and skills of ethnic minority business owners as well as the extent of competition in the market when it comes to serving these individuals. Language and homecountry way of thinking (mindsets) (particularly among first generation immigrants) are still major issues for both Turkish and Chinese small business owners. Added to these is the issue of thrift and hard work. This leaves only limited time for the business owners to participate in other activities, which partly explains why business owners find it difficult to follow the changing rules and regulations and to attend the workshops organised by the councils. In terms of the competition, ethnic minority owned businesses face fierce competition not only by their ethnic counterparts but also by the well established large international brands. engage | uk ISSUE SEVEN 2008