Reinvention Through Innovation

Despite the sluggish economy, a number of B.E. 100S companies are winning the battle for market share and profits by retooling their enterprises

Capital Alliance — a joint venture between City National Bank of New Jersey (No. 8 on the BE BANKS list with $215 million in assets), First Independence National Bank of Detroit (No. 12 on the BE BANKS list with $165 million in assets), and GE Capital — to provide equipment lease financing and advisory services to major companies. The Alliance is expected to generate $30 million to $100 million in the first year. “The alliance is significant because we can cross-sell our banking products — whether it’s a municipality, school district, or another type of institution — to new clients as it grows,” says McDonald.

To diversify income streams, old-line insurers and investment banks are treading on the turf of asset managers — dominated this year by John Rogers’ equity-oriented Ariel Capital Management (No. 1 on the BE ASSET MANAGERS list with $10.3 billion in assets under management). For example, Atlanta Life Financial Group Inc. (No. 3 on the BE INSURANCE COMPANIES list with assets of $99.9 million) has completed its transition into asset management by offering several equity products.

As for the private equity market, investors continue to hold on to their wallets because the lackluster merger and acquisitions and IPO activity are not providing the quick and profitable exits they witnessed a few years ago. Firms such as Fairview Capital Partners Inc. (No. 1 on the BE PRIVATE EQUITY list with $850 million in capital under management) and Smith Whiley & Co. (No. 4 on the BE PRIVATE EQUITY list with $213 million in capital under management), however, managed to raise additional money on the strength of new funds in what Smith CEO Gwendolyn Smith Iloani calls “the worst fund-raising market that I’ve seen in the history of private-equity investing.”

For BE CEOs, the watchword will continue to be innovation. Whether the economy crawls, skips, or sprints in coming years, they will have to streamline operations, create partnerships, and remain customer-obsessed. If the strategy works, these entrepreneurs must stay focused. And if it doesn’t, they will have to tear up their old plans and build a better business model.
– Additional reporting by Cliff Hocker, Jeffrey McKinney & Curtis Simmons

Eligibility for the B.E. 100s
The BE 100s make up the largest black-owned businesses in the nation. For 12 months, the research department and editors of BLACK ENTERPRISE gathered surveys from hundreds of companies and information from scores of government agencies, professional organizations, industry associations, business information services, entrepreneurs, corporations, and our readers in order to develop our definitive rankings. The following are the qualifications for each of our lists:

B.E. Industrial/Service 100
A company must be at least 51% black-owned and have been fully operational for the previous calendar year (Jan.1, 2002 — Dec. 31, 2002). Companies listed must manufacture or own the products they sell, or provide industrial or consumer services. (Brokerages, real estate firms, and firms that provide professional services such as accounting firms and law offices are not eligible.)

B.E. Auto Dealer 100
An auto dealership must be at least 51% black-owned and have been fully operational for

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
ACROSS THE WEB