For African-American-owned small business enterprises, the sky truly is the limit for getting information to grow, develop, scale, sustain, and finance firms. Whether from government, advocacy, or academic institutions, resources are available from an array of organizations that are primed to help.
Here are some examples:
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the only federal agency dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority-owned businesses. MBDA programs and services are designed to help minority-owned firms create jobs, build scale and capacity, increase revenues, and expand operations. One way the MBDA helps is through its Business Center Network, which provides minority-owned firms with access to technical expertise and resources. The MBDA says it has helped minority-owned firms gain access to more than $31 billion in capital and contracts since 2009, creating and retaining nearly 142,000 jobs. Go to http://www.mbda.gov/ for more information about MBDA business tools and opportunities.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s preeminent agency for assisting small firms. SBA programs are expansive, from facilitating loans with third-party lenders to offering information on venture capital to providing direct assistance and business advice. For instance, one initiative that the SBA offers is its Surety Bond Guarantee Program, which helps small-business contractors obtain surety bonds for contracts covering bid, performance, and payment bonds if they cannot get them on their own through regular commercial channels. Another useful assist from the SBA is business plan development, which provides an essential road map for sustaining small businesses. The SBA will assist business owners in developing the necessary components of the business plan, including the executive summary, market analysis, marketing and sales strategy, and financial projections. Go to https://www.sba.gov/ for more information about SBA programs.
The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) is an organization that African-American-owned small business enterprises should know and know well. NMSDC advances business opportunities for minority business enterprises because it is primarily an organization that certifies companies as diverse firms through its network of 23 affiliate regional councils nationwide. To be certified as a minority-owned firm, ownership by minorities in the business must be at 51 percent or, for publicly owned firms, 51 percent or more of the stock must be owned by minorities. Another key value of NMSDC is that it also is a corporate organization, connecting its more than 12,000 certified minority suppliers to its more than 1,750 corporate members, which includes some of the nation’s largest multinational companies and institutions in a multitude of industries. Go to http://www.nmsdc.org/ for more information about NMSDC programs.
The Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is the nation’s largest certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women. WBENC has 14 Regional Partner Organizations that provide certification services to women-owned businesses and collaborates with its alliance partner, WEConnect International, for global certifications. In addition to certifications, WBENC offers opportunities for women-owned firms to receive business programming to enhance business development and growth as well as staging networking events. Its National Conference & Business Fair each year attracts some 3,500 corporate executives, government officials, and women business owners as a means for stimulating business opportunities and driving economic growth. Go to http://www.wbenc.org/ for more information about WBENC.
The Minority Business Executive Program at the Tuck School at Dartmouth College serves as a key vehicle for training of minority business owners. One of the program’s missions is to help executives improve their performance as leaders in order to deliver stronger business results and drive growth, innovation, and change for their organizations. Go to http://exec.tuck.dartmouth.edu/ for more information about Tuck.
The Minority Business Executive Program at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business seeks to help equip ethnically diverse businesses with the knowledge and skills to grow their enterprises. Foster works with a number of corporate partners to shape training for participants to help them gain the knowledge and tools to achieve business goals. Go to http://foster.uw.edu/executive-edu/executive-programs/minority-business-executive-program/ for more information about Foster’s programs.
Executive Education programs at the Kellogg School at Northwestern University seek to take executives on an intellectual journey that will provide practical business training, including in areas such as finance and accounting, leadership, innovation and growth, strategy, and sales and marketing. Executive Education programs are taught by experienced faculty who themselves are practitioners, business leaders, and scholars. Go to http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/ for more information about Kellogg.