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Cameron promises national mentoring programme for black entrepreneurs in bid to deliver equality of opportunity for all

GuardianScan Despite the battering that he has received at The Guardian's hands in recent months, David Cameron is not giving up on the newspaper and its influential readership among the media and ideas class. In a short op-ed for today's paper he promises to "bring new energy to the task of building a country where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, irrespective of the colour of their skin."

The Tory leader reminds Guardian readers of the substantial progress that the Conservative Party has made in adopting minority candidates in winnable seats. Jonathan Isaby's full analysis is here.

Today's specific new proposal is a new national mentoring programme for black entrepreneurs. He lists statistics which suggest that Black African-owned firms are more than four times more likely than white-owned firms to be denied a loan. This experience means that 44% of entrepreneurs from black African backgrounds - compared to 4% from white entrepreneurs - report that fear of rejection deterred them from a loan application. The Tories' new mentoring programme would, writes David Cameron, "provide would-be black entrepreneurs with the targeted support, advice – and, crucially, role models – they need to access finance and work for themselves."

Mr Cameron will address an audience of minority Britons in Peckham later today on this and related themes. Fifty members of the audience have been invited by Operation Black Vote, a group with strong connections to left-wing activists including Lee Jasper and Al Sharpton. I cannot understand why the party continues to pursue such a close relationship with OBV. I confidently predict it will be biting the party at the earliest opportunity.

Tim Montgomerie


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