Purpose – The economic and social importance of minority ethnic-owned businesses (MEBs) is widely recognised, but it is also well-known that the providers of business support services have so far fallen short of the ideal in identifying, targeting and communicating with MEBs. This study seeks to add to the very limited academic literature on the topic by investigating the application of marketing\ud principles to the task, in Scotland.\ud Design/methodology/approach – Data for interpretation were collected by six semi-structured in-depth interviews with public-sector business-support providers in Edinburgh and Glasgow.\ud Findings – Providers are aware of the lack of awareness among MEBs of the services available, and the consequent poor take-up rates. Some have made limited efforts to initiate change by beginning to differentiate their products and services, and market them proactively, but others still favour a generic approach. A constraint on further progress is the lack of useful databases.\ud Research limitations/implications – This was a small-scale exploratory study. It would be useful to use its tentative findings as the departure point for broader-based studies, especially where MEBs are more numerous.\ud Practical implications – The findings contain lessons for academic researchers and marketing practitioners with an interest in ethnic minorities. Various “differentiated” marketing strategies are discussed, and promotional strategies for targeting the owners and operators of MEBs.\ud Originality/value – This study adds significantly to the published body of knowledge. Its findings are potentially applicable in the wider context of non-profit, public-sector and services marketing
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