Want to see lasting diversity and equality in your entrepreneurial community? Here are some ways to put your time, money, leadership and know-how to work on evening the playing field for minority-owned businesses.
In the weeks since George Floyd’s death, the country has been reckoning with our legacy of racial inequities. Many people have been taking a good hard look at themselves, and many are trying to figure out how they can help. Entrepreneurs tend to be hands-on doers and problem-solvers, so when a deep systemic issue has been identified, business leaders look for solutions. And according to Connie Evans, the CEO and president of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, that’s what makes entrepreneurs so valuable to the cause of racial equity. “Business owners can help their local government leaders think more creatively and more entrepreneurially to solve some of the problems that they’re seeing in their communities,” Evans told Entrepreneur.
Evans has been advising governments, business owners and nonprofits — from presidential administrations to the World Bank to the Senate Small Business Committee — for 25 years. She was the first black woman to be elected to the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and has also served on the U.S. Treasury Department’s CDFI Advisory Board. When we asked her how the entrepreneurial community can translate their convictions into actions, she had six suggestions.
1. Use your buying power to support minority-owned businesses.
Evans says, “Your readers should think about looking to find and support black-owned and Latinx-owned businesses with their consumer dollars. That’s a very important thing that any reader can do. If you’re in a community where there aren’t many minority-owned businesses, or you’re not sure where they are, there are black directories out there and organizations that can link them to black businesses.”
We have listed a number of them here.
2. Write letters to your national and local representatives.
“Your readers can also use their voices and their pens to write to their representatives,“ Evans says. “And I don’t just mean to Federal congressional representatives. There are lots of regulations and laws at the state and local level that represent real barriers for minority businesses.”
For example, at the local level:
“Business owners and businesses of color have more difficulty accessing new markets,” Evans says. “And all governments, whether you’re local or state, have contracting opportunities. Oftentimes those contract opportunities go to very, very, very large businesses. So, you could petition your local or state government to break up these big bundle contracting programs so that smaller and black-owned businesses can have access. That’s a very important one, and it’s something that can be done easily if there is will and demand. And there are examples out there of cities that have done this.”
Evans continues, “Another thing at the state and local level is removing the barriers for how businesses get licensed. In many places, you have to jump through 50 different hoops and go to three different places and all of those things. Those are just barriers to people without as many resources.”
More details from the original article here.