All Articles Tagged "minority business"
Rev. Jesse Jackson, Wall Street Project Economic Summit To Address Financial Issues Facing the Black Community
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Citizenship Education Fund are hosting the 16th Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit, a gathering that will bring together politicians, business leaders, academics, and others to discuss the economic issues facing the black community and how to overcome them.
Among the familiar names that will be in attendance are President Bill Clinton, Rev. Al Sharpton, New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and California Rep. Maxine Waters. Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown, will be the special honoree at a fundraiser gala. And the topics up for discussion include career management, “the business of hip hip,” public contracts and procurement, advertising and minority media, and building minority businesses. The event is taking place Wednesday, January 30 to Friday, February 1. Madame Noire will be there, reporting back all the interesting info we gather.
Before that, Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, held a teleconference with the media today to talk about what we can expect from the event. Media outlets participating besides Madame Noire included The Huffington Post and The Grio.
“Our politics are up, but our economy is down,” Rev. Jackson said during his opening remarks. Some of the afflictions that ail minority businesses and neighborhoods are the lack of access to capital, credit, and investment, he continued.
“There’s a focus on the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling, but we’re still facing poverty,” he said. He also emphasized the devastating effect that personal financial ruin are having on black-owned businesses and black communities.
“When plants close… when homes are targeted and foreclosed on, and people driven to bankruptcy, there’s no market. The community dries up,” he said. He was responding to a question we asked about the need for black businesses to hire blacks as a way to lower the persistently high unemployment rate among African Americans.
In poverty-stricken areas, Rev. Jackson called for “day care, transportation, job training, and jobs.” He also highlighted the effect of “devastating redlining” and other practices at financial institutions that have been detrimental.
For more information about The Wall Street Project Economic Summit, click here.
Minority and women-owned businesses in Orlando’s Orange Country have enjoyed millions of dollars of county tax funds for decades.Orlando is the first area government to extend programs that awards project funds to minority and women-owned businesses. But now, its support of these businesses may end. According to the Orlando Sentinel, in conjunction with three other organizations, the county will observe the achievements of its funding. The study is estimated to take more than a year and the results will determine whether or not the county will continue to set aside money for these businesses or not.
The program was set up to help support small businesses with public funds that would have otherwise been used to finance large copmanies, many of which are located outside of the local area. Funds are given depending on how many women or minority-owned businesses are included in subcontracts.This year alone, Orlando spent almost $4 million on minority and women-owned business; about 22 percent of the total spent on private companies.
Critics argue that the program allows inexperienced companies to receive work they don’t deserve. But supporters such as Derek Burke, the African American president of the WBO engineering firm, says that the program has worked. Burke has been in business for 18 years and owes his company’s growth to the program. He notes that the money made from these subcontracts not only helps these minority businesses, it also stays in the local community and brings jobs to the area.
Kevin Walsh, Orlando’s minority enterprise business official, also expresses his desire to see the program continue.
“I think the need is still there and is still great. Absolutely,” he said.
Macy’s knows that its customers reflect the broad range of ethnicities that compose the American landscape. More than half of its customers in top markets are minorities, according to Businessweek. Macy’s also knows that it’s a challenge for small businesses to get contracts with the department store behometh. To reconcile and address these two facts, Macy’s created a training program to encourage and mold minority vendors for the chain.
It’s a win-win situation for minority business owners and Macy’s, which seeks to better service its demographic. According according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth, Black buying power will expand by about a quarter, to $1.2 trillion by 2015: ”Macy’s forecasts its sales of goods from minority- and women-owned businesses will jump to $1 billion in two years, after rising a projected 22 percent, to $683.2 million, in 2011.” Source
To deliver the training course, Macy’s partnered with Boston-area school Babson college and coordinated a four-and-a-half-day course taught largely by Macy’s executives including Lisa Price, whose Carol Daughters’ products are sold in Macy’s stores.
The program received over 250 applications, from which 22 finalists were selected to participate. Applicants had to submit two years of financial information, product lists, and photos. Classes included lessons on the art of markdowns, supply chains, and raising financial backing.
Four of its graduates received contracts with Macy’s in November – two of the women were African-American entrepreneurs. Kim Roxie, founder of Lamik, will be selling her line of cosmetics which focuses on “problem-solving” make-up and kits. Her products will be sold in Macys’s stores in Texas, Louisiana and online. Monif Clarke of Monif C. also got tapped to sell her line of plus-size apparel.
Both brands have generated a lot of buzz in the past couple of years and this Macy’s program has proven to give them an extra boost, rather than a foundation, by which to expand their businesses.
(Houston Chronicle) — The Obama administration has proposed, as a formality, eliminating a federal contracting program benefiting ethnic minority-owned businesses after courts ruled that the program was unconstitutional. If the Federal Acquisition Regulation program is eliminated later this year, as expected, it will close the door on a successful reverse-discrimination lawsuit filed by a San Antonio company that two years ago effectively halted a program conducted by the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration and NASA to award 5 percent of contracts to minority-owned companies.
(Exception) — The Department of Defense, General Services Administration and NASA submitted a rule change on September 9 to eliminate a program which aimed to boost government contracts that were awarded to minority-owned small businesses. “It is unbelievable that at a time when unemployment among minorities is at record levels, the President is going to eliminate the largest federal programs to help minority-owned businesses,” said American Small Business League President Lloyd Chapman.
(AJC) — After 15 years working in corporate America and, now, four years after starting his own company, Kevin Mobley knows what’s critical for a small business trying to land a supplier contract with a big firm. “When you’re a small company, one of the key challenges is to know what’s happening internally” in those corporations, said Mobley, owner of the Ian Thomas Group, an Atlanta-based technology services firm. It’s important to know “what they’re buying, what they’re spending money on. And how . . . your company’s capabilities align with that.”
(Wall Street Journal) — A Bloomberg administration initiative intended to help minority- and women-owned companies secure more public contracts has steered little money to black-owned firms, according to city data. In the last year and a half, about three-quarters of city dollars paid to contractors participating in the program went to companies owned by either Asian Americans or white women. Businesses run by Latinos received 15% of that pool of money. The smallest share, 7%, went to black-run firms. ”It’s a shockingly paltry amount,” said city Comptroller John Liu, a first-term Democrat. The program has been a magnet for criticism since Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council approved a law in 2005 that set voluntary goals for awarding a certain percentage of contracts to businesses registered as owned by minorities or women.
(Maryland Gazette) — Prince George’s council members are calling for county-based companies to receive preferential treatment when they seek government contracts. County Bill 17, known as the Jobs First Act, would require the county government to weigh in favor of county-based and minority-owned businesses when taking bids for new equipment, supplies, construction or services. The bill calls for the county to award 50 percent of all contracts to county-based businesses, which last fiscal year would have equated to $149 million. Since the 2008 fiscal year, about 12 percent of Prince George’s $1.3 billion in procurement spending has gone to county businesses. Any company that gets county funding for a new shopping center, office park or community must agree to a 51 percent hiring goal for residents as workers under the bill, which also sets hiring and contracting goals for minority-owned and small business firms.
(Black Enterprise) – Gerald Smith, chairman and CEO of Houston-based Smith Graham & Co. Investment Advisors L.P., says his firm is already benefiting from a new federal law that’s helping minority and women contractors land deals with regulators of the nation’s financial system. The law allowed Smith’s firm, (No. 7 on the BE ASSET MANAGERS list with nearly $5 billion in assets under management), to land a contract last fall to provide advisory services to the U.S. Treasury Department, Smith says. Smith Graham, through a partnership with Boston-based State Street Global, is advising the Treasury on the management of about $150 billion in mortgage-backed securities, Smith says. “Our goal is to spend more time in Washington and work with these offices, bring more business to the firm, create new opportunities and show them our value added proposition,” he says.
(Chicago Sun Times) — Chicago’s scandal-scarred minority business program remains “dysfunctional” and “beset by fraud and abuse” because former Mayor Richard M. Daley lacked a commitment to clean it up, the city’s inspector general concluded Thursday. One year after concluding that blacks, Hispanics, women and Asians were deprived of at least $19 million worth of construction contracts in 2008 alone because of “widespread” fraud, abuse and mismanagement, Inspector General Joe Ferguson determined that precious little has changed. “The lack of an overall commitment to confronting the program’s deficiencies has left it beset by fraud and abuse and unable to achieve its objectives,” Ferguson wrote.