Research Committees

Steering Committee

Research committee piloting the Ujamaa Funding Initiative as a model for economic development in African and African Caribbean Communities.


This committee has been established by the Centre’s research team to provide structured data and analysis to the Ujamaa Funding Initiative. UFI, incorporating the principles of Ujamaa (collective economic power in action) is a community finance co-operative that facilitates donations from its members to organisations that provide essential community services but are not backed by government or commercial lenders. The goal is to support those who have or are experiencing financial exclusion with development finance. Plus, over the course of the pilot, produce feasibility studies on the UFI operational framework being a tested model for tackling the wider endemic problem of capital support for economic development.

According to the Minority Ethnic Enterprise Centre of Expertise Business owners of Black African origin are four times more likely than white firms to be denied commercial loans. When loans are granted to Black African businesses, the loan amounts are significantly lower than requested. Along with other discriminatory banking practices ongoing financial exclusion ensures that getting a successful African business off the ground and sustainable is profoundly difficult. That is why despite 68% aspiring to start their own business only 4% of Black people in the UK actually go on to do so.

The African and African Caribbean community is not without wealth. The so called “Black economy” in the UK is estimated to be worth £4.5 billion. UFI is about developing mechanisms for better distributing that wealth to help reduce economic inequalities that lead to disproportionate levels of poverty and unemployment in the African and African Caribbean population.

The project will run from April 2020 to March 2021.

Remit of the Committee

The committee comprises of eight individuals from various backgrounds and fields whose purpose is to ensure that the research work is guided in an impartial and credible way. They are responsible for making sure the project is delivered in accordance with its aims; and that the project has the right metrics and data records to submit to its end of term feasibility report. We are a committee representative of related but diverse backgrounds and expertise. It is this diversity that ensures the research production process is rigorous, thorough and of the highest quality.

Committee Member Duties

  • Input theory, definitions and data sources into study debate
  • Review progress against the project milestones and deliverables
  • Comment and feedback on the quality of the research work carried out
  • Inform and co-produce the delivery of the policies and procedures set out for beneficiaries
  • Identify opportunities and make recommendations for expanding the donor base
  • Maintain confidentiality and treat data in accordance with GDPR regulations

Skills and Competencies

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Knowledge of charity/CIC regulations
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Good written and oral communication skills
Research and Research Design
Data and Policy Analyst
Good organisation skills


The Group will meet on the first Sunday of every month starting from March  2020 until Aug 2020.  Meetings will take place in central London.  Dialogue between meetings will continue via online and telephone discussions as and when.

Who we're looking for?

We want members of the committee to consist of individuals who are passionate about supporting the economic development of the African and African Caribbean communities. It is desirable but not essential that we have a representation of individuals from the following professions or associated groups:

  • Economists or Economic Analysts
  • Faith Leaders
  • Bankers, Financial Advisors or Accountancy
  • Law or Policymakers
  • Academia – Post Graduate in Finance Related Degree
  • Community Leaders

Contact Us

If you are interested in becoming a member of the committee, please contact our Chair Cheryl Martin telling us a little about yourself and why you’d like to join.