Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to set out to evaluate the financial education needs of ethnic minority SMEs in the West Midlands region of the United Kingdom. Design/methodology/approach - A postal survey was used to investigate the financial needs of owner/managers in 64 ethnic minority SMEs and a control sample of 23 non-ethnic SMEs. Findings - The results show that owner/managers of micro-businesses have lower educational achievements as well as higher financial education needs than their counterparts in small and medium-sized firms. In contrast, owner/managers in small and medium-sized businesses have relatively higher educational achievements and a better appreciation of the role of financial education. Similar trends were observed in non-ethnic SMEs in the control sample. Originality/value - This article makes an empirically rigorous contribution to a relatively under researched aspect of SME research. The authors recommend that government agencies collaborate with leaders of ethnic minority communities to raise awareness of the benefits of education in general and financial education in particular.