Top Black entrepreneur wins Downing Street plaudits

British prime minister Gordon Brown heaped praise on a south London businessman who has helped particularly young people succeed in the jobs market. Award-winning Roger Lynch, founder and chief executive of Southwark-based Robust Training, went to Downing Street to meet Brown with other Black entrepreneurs.The prime minister told him: “Keep up your good work. I have read about you and your business and your work for the community. Growing young businesses like yours are the engine of the economy, and are set to prosper even more as we pull out of recession.” 

Lynch was one of a group of prominent Black business people invited to Number 10 to mark the rising success of Black entrepreneurs. “It was a fantastic evening,” says Lynch, “and I was given every opportunity to tell Gordon Brown and other ministers what I thought of their policies and actions.

“I told Mr Brown of the problems we are having with one of the banks he has nationalized, and how their attitudes are holding back expansion and the creation of more jobs.”  

Roger Lynch is a new entrant in this year’s newly-published Black Power List, which identifies the most 100 most influential BME people in Britain. He is also Southwark’s reigning Black Entrepreneur of the Year. 

Brown told the gathering how important it is for all black and ethnic minority people to go out and vote at the next election, whether they are Labour, Liberal Democrat or Conservative. “Whatever your politics, the BNP poses the greatest danger to you and diversity in our nation.” 

Lynch is chief executive of the Ruskin Private Hire group, which employs almost 500 in Southwark. He founded the business 12 years ago after suffering a crippling Achilles injury as a promising career as a sprinter. 

It prompted him to start a passenger transport business with fully accessible vehicles, leading to Ruskin winning the Accessible Operator of the Year award, and contracts with more than 20 London councils and NHS trusts. 

A belief in the value of professionally trained staff led to the formation just over two years ago of Robust Training, which has been recognised for high-quality work with the award of new government contracts for training a range of people.  

Robust Training has launched two revolutionary training vehicles in the last 12 months. The Robustraina is designed for up to 20 learners at a time to be trained at dedicated learning stations, each equipped with laptop computers and phones in constant touch with the world.  

The Activtraina is fitted with Xbox 360s, drum and CD mixing machines, DVDs and other state-of-the-art fun machines to attract the lost generation of so-called NEETS (Not in Employment, Education or Training).