From Nigeria to UK – Dr Solomon Fubara: Helping the Diaspora Break into Business
Nigerian-born Dr Solomon Fubara did not quite set out to become a member of the UK diaspora community. In fact, he came to get a university degree in 1983 and had every intention of using his education to get ahead back home. As in many cases, this was not to be. After graduating, Dr Fubara was offered a position in business development and ended up staying. The processes of launching and managing a new business became a life-long fascination. Now, Dr Fubara is the go-to guy for anyone seeking to make a mark in business.
For his work with diaspora entrepreneurs, Dr Fubara was awarded an MBE (Member of British Empire) medal. Specific mention was made of Dr Fubara’s efforts to assist ethnic minority entrepreneurs in navigating the legal maze that surrounds small businesses. Dr Fubara has helped tens of now thriving small business get established in his hometown of Bristol. He has also been active in creating support structures for ethnic minority business owners.
Today, Dr Fubara has taken on a project aimed at encouraging members of the growing Somali diaspora to set up shop and thus grow firm roots in the UK. “Sometimes people pass me on the street and tell me thanks for helping them. That gives me a real sense of satisfaction. I may not always be able to help financially but I think that what BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) businesses need the most is mentorship. A good mentor can make a businesses and a bad one can break it.”
In 2006, Dr Fubara set up the African Caribbean Chamber of Commerce in order to help foster trade links between diaspora communities in the UK and their home countries. “There are still many opportunities to be explored in this area. Long and well established diaspora communities have significant purchasing power and long for products not normally available in the UK. Through our chamber of commerce we try to assist small and medium-sized companies in Africa and the Caribbean to satisfy that demand. In the process we hope to open up markets and contribute our bit to the sustained development of the countries involved.”
Dr Fubara also exports his business knowledge and acumen to Africa where he is involved with a number of business development projects financed by development agencies. He is specialised in strategic policy analysis, business evaluation, and the development of strategies. He holds MBA and PhD degrees and is an active member of numerous professional associations. Over the course of his career, Mr Fubara has worked in private business as well as for UK government agencies.