Georgia’s Disadvantaged Businesses: Lots of Progress But Still Lots of Work to be Done

Prior to the Great Recession of 2007-2009, minority business ownership grew at more than twice the national average rate for all small businesses in the U.S. However, the affects of the Great Recession have hit minority businesses the hardest. So it begs the question, why does this matter and what can be done to mitigate the economic and financial damage caused by the recession?

Before we can begin to answer the questions posed by this dilemma, some hard facts need to be shared: Regionally, most Asian-owned firms were located in the West U.S.(46.6%) and the North-east U.S.(29.9%). For African American-owned firms, most are located in South U.S. (59.1%) and the Midwest U.S.(17.6%). Latino-owned firms are located mostly in the South (47.3%) and the West (38.7%). In addition, most white, female-owned firms are located in the South (37.3%) and in the West (23.7%).

These numbers alone point to the reason that it matters. These three large and under served demographic groups have the majority of their businesses in the South. In terms of economic disparity, Black and Latino unemployment rates continually and consistently run higher than the national average (13.2% for blacks; 9.0% for Latinos with the national average at 7.5%). With these high levels of unemployment, healthy Black- and Latino-owned businesses are one of the keys to the economic, and, in some cases, the social revival and well being of both communities. The Georgia SBDC is uniquely positioned to and is in the forefront in providing assistance to the minority business community in Georgia. This is a role that must be continued with a renewed sense of urgency with both energy and commitment. Since 1982, the Georgia SBDC has had a dedicated Office of Minority Business Development. OMBD, as it is commonly known, has supported and continues to support:

  • Minority Youth Entrepreneurship Programs.
  • Scholarship support to qualified and deserving minority- and women-owned businesses to attend Georgia SBDC training programs (GrowSmart™ and StartSmart™).
  • Spanish language training programs for Latino entrepreneurs and prospective entrepreneurs in metro Atlanta and to other areas throughout the state starting in 2014.
  • Government contracting is always listed by minority and women CEOs as a prime entry point and opportunity for minority- and women-owned businesses to enter the larger
  • Lloyd Atkins, Director, SBDC’s Office of Minority Business Development (OMBD)
  • marketplace. OMBD has been proactive in providing procurement technical assistance support and training to Georgia SBDC area office consulting and administrative staff.
  • OMBD has assisted Georgia SBDC area offices throughout the state to develop and deliver procurement training to small businesses in their respective local area markets. This training has enabled a number of SBDC minority business clients to compete for and be awarded contracts with both federal, state and corporate institutions.
  • OMBD continues to work closely with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Georgia District office to offer procurement training to Georgia SBA constituents and to assist minority and other underserved businesses with capital formation.
  • OMBD works closely with the Georgia Tech Procurement Technical Assistance Center throughout the state to provide support to their clients as a resource partner.
  • As an advocate for minority- and women-owned businesses in Georgia , OMBD works closely with the following groups: Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council, the Greater Women’s Business Council, Atlanta Business League, Columbus Black Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Black Constructors Association and the Georgia Black Chamber of Commerce.

We started out by asking the question, “Why does it matter?” It matters because minority- and women-owned businesses play a vital role in the continued economic recovery of minority communities in Georgia and throughout the country.

For further information, please contact FlameOFF Coatings, Inc.

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