Entrepreneurs of color could soon get help with everything—from obtaining financing to finding customers—courtesy of two prominent business groups.
A new effort to build business ownership in the black community stems from a memorandum of understanding between the U.S. Black Chambers Inc. and the Black Young Presidents’ Organization.
The MOU has been signed by Black Chambers’ President Ron Busby, Sr. and Brian Hall, chairman of BYPO, a part of the Young Presidents’ Organization. With member-run firms employing 15 million people and $6 trillion in annual revenue, YPO claims it is one of the world’s most influential group of business leaders.
The agreement established a blueprint for an ongoing alliance and collaboration between the USBC and BYPO. It aims to determine proactive measures to best support the growth and sustainability of black businesses. The partnership’s main focus is to provide new opportunities and a wider pipeline for black entrepreneurs to get access to capital to grow their businesses they don’t currently have.
“Successful and sustainable black businesses are directly related to establishing wealth in the black community,” Busby says. “Our partnership with BYPO is an important step in providing continued leadership and advocacy in the fulfillment of economic empowerment.”
Commenting on the agreement, Hall says, “Entrepreneurs and small businesses will only become and remain successful if we work collectively with federal government agencies that can serve as vehicles to access capital, identify opportunities to mentor younger businesses, and build actionable succession plans.”
Busby says the groups anticipate initially targeting 25 to 50 businesses with the launch of the agreement, including more as networks are built and other resources established to formalize the program strategy and implementation.
He provided a preliminary sketch of how the USBC and BYPO will support the growth and sustainability of black businesses.
- Working to identify opportunities for mentorship, subcontracting, and guidance on joint ventures, and strategic alliances that help businesses scale for growth.
- Providing black businesses with access to lending options through banking networks the USBC and BYPO has ties with, to gain to access to capital.
- Developing lists of qualified subcontractors to share with black businesses to generate new business opportunities. Busby initiatives like Bank Black, the Black Chambers’ credit card program with Liberty Bank, and the USBC Entrepreneurial Training Program powered by the University of Phoenix will be used to directly connect businesses to banks interested in providing access to capital.
- Connecting black firms to Millennial Entrepreneurs Redefined and Capital Pathways, two current USBC programs. Busby says those programs, along with the Minority Business Development Agency, are geared to preparing small, medium, and large firms, including start-ups, with resources, direct connections to lenders, investors, and contractors in ten cities.
Jeffrey McKinney is a long-time freelance business writer and reporter, contributing to Black Enterprise magazine for several years on a broad range of business and financial topics.