The London MP also spoke out after the London riots about the need to solve
the “lack of opportunities for young people”.
He will today say it is always wrong to “glamorise” gangs as “criminality and
serious violence” are at the heart of the culture.
However, he will argue that business could help gang members find a way out of
their criminal pasts.
“Their entrepreneurial zeal, used in a legitimate business setting, could
provide them with a ladder up, just as it did for my father,” he will say.
“We must make legitimate business a more feasible avenue through which our
young people can realise their dreams even when all else may have failed
Mr Umunna’s own father arrived in Liverpool from Nigeria in the 1960s without
any money or connections, so a stranger had to lend him the train fare to
“Within 15 years he worked his way up from arriving with nothing to running a
very successful import and export business doing trade between Europe and
West Africa, selling all manner of goods until his death,” Mr Umunna said.
“His story was particular to him but is in many ways an archetypal immigrant
story common to families the length and breadth of Britain. A generation
created through commerce opportunities that no one else would offer them.”
The shadow business secretary will also argue that entrepreneurship is a good
route to “social mobility”.