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Last updated: June 25, 2012 11:56 pm
Teenage gang members show impressive brand awareness and “entrepreneurial zeal” which should be channelled into legitimate business settings, Labour’s business spokesman will say on Tuesday.
Chuka Umunna, shadow business secretary, will say that while many UK gangs are engaged in “criminality and very serious violence”, some gangsters have talents that could be used constructively if their energies were turned towards business ventures.
Mr Umunna, MP for Streatham in south London, will say that gangs put great effort into building up their brand, for example by making music videos for YouTube.
“Too much of this entrepreneurial instinct is being channelled into totally the wrong thing,” he will say. “Just imagine what these young gang members could achieve if their energies were redirected.”
Ministers have been concerned about the proliferation of gang violence in the UK since some gangsters were found to be involved in last summer’s riots. The Home Office later launched a gang strategy aimed at preventing young people being drawn into organised crime.
Mr Umunna’s comments will be made as part of a wider speech about entrepreneurship, where he will point out that running your own business can play a key role in getting ahead. He will cite research suggesting that self-employment offers a more likely route to social mobility than paid employment.
He will cite the example of his father, who arrived from Nigeria in the 1960s with a suitcase and no money. “Within 15 years he worked his way up from arriving with nothing to running a very successful import and export business,” he will say.
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