The implications of this for Asian firms are critical. There are 200,000 Asian owned businesses in the UK, collectively punching above their weight in their contribution to the economy. So it is clear that their survival and prosperity is key. But despite the ongoing difficulties, there are plenty of opportunities for strong companies to develop and succeed – and Asian firms are in a unique position. The entrepreneurial spirit, and cultural and family ties shared by Asian businesses, as well as the relative strengths of some of the sectors in which they operate, stand these firms in good stead. Asians are recognised as the most likely ethnic minority group in the UK to become entrepreneurs. We are able to meet their specific needs, with products and services such as our range of Islamic Business Banking services which allow Muslim businesses to bank according to their principles and faith. The Asian business community also has a strong foothold in a number of sectors including property, IT, healthcare, food and drink, retail and textiles. Clearly all markets face certain challenges in an economic downturn, but we have seen many operators in these sectors do well. For the first generation of Asians arriving in the UK there was a real desire to establish a solid foundation in their new country. Starting a business provided an opportunity to engage with the local community and gain financial autonomy and stability. Now, many Asians have a strong family support network and this provides an excellent foundation for a growing business. But no firms should underestimate the potential impact of the recession. It’s important that all businesses do everything they can to help guard themselves against the ongoing difficulties and prepare for the upturn when it comes. By seeking the right support and taking the right action now, businesses in the region can not only manage their way through the downturn as it persists, but also gear up to make the most of the recovery as and when it appears.
Kamel Hothi is Asian markets director at Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets.Related articles “Always accept a dinner invitation from an Asian client!” Rabinder Buttar: How to build a global enterprise FEATURE: Successful British & Muslim