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REFLEX - Re-generating Enterprise through Facilitating Local Economic Exchange

Partnership information


reflex BA


The aim of the REFLEX DP was to offer practical and innovative solutions to build the capacity of local community organisations to engage in and deliver business advice. It also aimed to facilitate access to mainstream business support from business support agencies.


The main objectives were:

  • To research enterprise development in black and minority ethnic communities and other groups excluded in the labour market.

  • To develop programmes to increase the capacity of community organisations to promote and support enterprise.

  • To develop business networks and implement good practice in the provision of enterprise support.

  • To work with business support agencies to promote enterprise development in local communities, particularly amongst groups commonly excluded in the labour market.

REFLEX was under development from autumn, 2000 and was the subject of extensive preparatory partnership working and extensive consultation across Islington, Camden and the neighbouring Finsbury Park SRB border areas in Hackney and Haringey. There was a need to encourage entrepreneurship among disadvantaged communities. Nearly a quarter of Islington's population is non-white but just 10% of its enterprises had a non-white owner.

Target beneficiary groups

REFLEX was focused on disadvantaged groups in Islington, Camden, Hackney and Haringey. The project particularly targeted black and minority ethnic communities, utilising organisations with a proven track record in engaging groups not traditionally accessing mainstream business support. Other targets were women, lone parents, people with disabilities, people with HIV, refugees and asylum seekers.



Transnational partnerships


Tony Swash, London Borough of Islington,

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Business creation


The REFLEX model has been adopted by local authorities as a mechanism for the engagement of communities who have experienced social exclusion.

The development of the membership organisation ACBBA, owned by and for community organisations who deliver business support, is one of the long-lasting achievements of REFLEX.

The project has now trained 12 people from different ethnic minority organisations using an experimental a cross-cultural support model to develop business advisors. The training has allowed workers based directly in community organisations to obtain recognised professional qualifications as business advisors. Seven community based business advisors have been accredited.

There have been 118 business start ups under the project. Four community business networks were created and one European Community network.

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