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A few weeks after George Floyd’s death, the country reckons with its legacy of racial inequality. Many people look closely at themselves, and many are trying to figure out how they can help. Entrepreneurs tend to be practical and problem-solving, so when a deep systemic problem is identified, business executives look for solutions. According to Connie Evans, CEO and President Association for Enterprisesbecause that’s what makes entrepreneurs so valuable to the racial business equity. “Business owners can help their locals government Leaders think more creatively and more enterprisingly to address some of the challenges they see in their communities, ”Evans said. Entrepreneur.
Evans advises governments, business owners and nonprofits – from presidential administrations to the World Bank to the Senate Small business The committee is 25 years old. She was the first black woman to be appointed to the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and also held a position in the United States. Advisory Board of the Ministry of Finance. When we asked her how the business community can translate their beliefs into action, she had six suggestions.
1. Use your purchasing power to support a minority-owned business.
Evans says, “Your readers need to think about finding and supporting businesses owned by black and Latin, their consumer dollars. Bad is a very important thing any reader can do. If they are in a community where there are many businesses owned by a minority, or don’t know where they are, there are black directories and organizations that can link them to black business. ”
We have listed a number of them here he is.
2. Write letters to your national and local representatives.
“Your readers can also use their voice and pens to write to their representatives,” Evans says. “And I don’t mean representatives of federal congresses. At the state and local levels, there are a lot of regulations and laws that represent real barriers to minority business.”
For example, locally:
“Business owners and color businesses have more challenging opportunities to access new markets,” Evans says. “And all governments, whether you are local or state, have the ability to contract. Often these contract opportunities go for very, very, very large businesses. So you can ask your local or state government to disperse these big ones. contract packages to small and black businesses may have access. This is very important and something that can be easily done if there is desire and demand. And there is examples of cities that have done this“
Evans continues: “Another thing at the state and local level is to remove barriers to obtaining licenses. In many places you need to jump 50 different hoops and go to three different places and all that stuff. It’s just barriers for people who don’t have that many resources. “
At the national level:
It is usually important that your representatives in Congress know that you care about how Small Business Administration decides which companies receive capital, but this is especially true when it comes to future rounds of funding incentives.
“We need to prioritize businesses that have no more than 10 employees,” Evans says. “Businesses that own the vast majority of people – about 90 percent – have 10 or fewer employees. SBA it is necessary to eliminate regulations that allow funding the first to work [that goes primarily to bigger ‘small’ companies]”
Entrepreneurs can also tell their federal representatives that they approve The SBA discriminated against small business owners with criminal recordsthat disproportionately affects color entrepreneurs.
3. Summarize the diversity in your activities.
“Entrepreneurs are leaders by nature,” Evans says. “They can be community leaders and use their voice. But entrepreneurs are also business owners. And if you’re really going to change society, you shouldn’t do the first two actions I talked about without working for inclusion in your own business operations.Look at the list of suppliers.Is it diverse? Look at your employees.They are diverse? Try to align your actions.Do not resent the injustice you find without taking these issues seriously and not appreciating diversity and inclusion in your own operations “.
4. Donate guest services
“If anyone doubted, it is now clear that the whole is global economy is moving towards a much larger digital market, ”says Evans.“ And some of these small businesses owned by people of color are much slower to develop a digital presence and develop an experience there.
“AEO has created what we consider a comprehensive, relatively challenging solution to reach small business owners, including black business owners,” Evans continues. Through our program is called The main street rise, which has brought together partners such as GoDaddy, Bench and Fanbank, which have world-class technology solutions to help small businesses grow rapidly. With Main Street Rise our partners offer these goods and services for free to small business owners in need.
“For example, the Bench provides accounting services for entrepreneurs. Small business owners lost so much income during the shelter, and many know if they can afford to take PPP loans or any other types of loans. They need help with accounting and getting books in order, and some of these businesses just can’t afford it.
“We can help with that. We can also provide them with a way to make a profit through Fanbank as part of a program where they can sell loans to their clients, so when they can open up, their clients can come in and start. We also have teachers to help you learn how to turn in this environment and during the downturn we are entering.So if your entrepreneurial audience has solutions that they think can help small businesses, we will be happy to talk to them about joining our partnership “.
5. Put on the entrepreneur’s hat to find public solutions
“Entrepreneurs always think,‘ How do I solve problems? “And they can use that mind to help local government leaders think more creatively and more enterprisingly to address some of the issues they see in their communities,” Evans says. “For example, during a blockade you may think,‘ Okay, you have closed restaurants and you can only do takeaway and delivery on the street and you have whole communities where people are unemployed and have no food. They stand in food lines wrapped in blocks. Why not take government dollars and give these restaurants grants to open up and feed society? In this way, restaurants can bring people back while filling the real need to return nutritious food to society. We need to become more entrepreneurial in how we use public resources and how they can be used to solve many problems and problems simultaneously. ”
6. Be strategic with your charitable donations
“Often people think of charity as helping the homeless, education, social services – and of course save everything,” Evans says. “But your readers may not realize that an important part of the business ecosystem for color communities and color business owners are nonprofits that are created to provide capital and trusted management to low-income communities. These nonprofits need support, and there are different creative ways to do it. “
Grants. “Reopening for many small businesses will require grants – capital without a burden on loans and payback. How will they pay for all the new upgrades that will need to be reopened? Where does this money come from? You can’t take credit for it because your profits decreases, and even if you open an upgrade, you can only have 50 percent or 25 percent of the placement you’re used to, so people need grants for that.
“You can come to Main Street Rise if you want to get a grant for a specific business in your area – or just do business with an AEO,” Evans says. – We are a national organization and we have more than 1,700 members. so if any of your readers say, “I want to support business in my state, either in my big city or in a small town,” we can do that.
“We can direct resources to any geographic or socio-demographic setting so that someone really wants to see their resource support. Grants are a really important way in which the entrepreneurial ecosystem can support black-owned businesses owned by women entrepreneurs.” records, entrepreneurs in rural areas, Indian communities and immigrant communities »
Donor advice. Some of your readers may have their own trusts, family foundations or what is called Advised Donor Fund (DAF). When the new tax policy came into force in this administration, more affluent people had to spend money on charity, which allowed them tax breaks. One such product, if you will, is DAF, which they often created Loyalty. And you can think about using DAF in ways that can support minority ownership.
“For example, through Fidelity AEO just got $ 10,000 from a California business owner who wanted to support Main Street Rise. They took money from DAF and specifically said, ‘This will help a small business.’
“Chicago has a program called” Chicago Community Trustwhich directs your money to support businesses or companies owned by black individuals. This would be a charitable contribution that your readers can receive for writing off taxes. So it’s just another way of thinking about what you have that can help. ”