Times are changing. Once upon a time, men dominated the arena of business ownership. Now, women and minorities aren’t only in the race, they are leading the pack. U.S. Census data reports small to mid-size firms owned by women are rising at twice the rate of all business, minorities at four times that rate. The benefits and opportunities are plentiful within this demographic if you know where to look.
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is the only federal agency dedicated solely to the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in the United States. The web portal of the MBDA (www.mbda.gov) is a virtual guidebook for every aspect of business. Support and information can be found at the local, regional and national level for every facet of operation. If a special program reserved for minority-owned enterprises is available, the MBDA is the place to learn about it.
What keeps minority-owned businesses from being competitive? The short answer is technology. Despite rapid growth, the lack of technology implemented in minority-owned small businesses is the cause of nearly 200 billion dollars in lost revenue.
In 2005, Microsoft teamed up with the MBDA to form the Technology Partnership for Small Business Task Force. The goal is to utilize industry leaders, government municipalities and blue chip community organizations to assist the minority business owner with IT solutions. The mission of the alliance is to decrease the technology gap, help boost the bottom line of small business enterprise, strengthen the economy and eventually progress to global expansion. Often times the minority business owner understands the need for technology but lacks the skills, tools and resources to create technological solutions.
Perhaps the most appealing benefit of a small business is the idea of power. Studies show that minority-owned small businesses are a powerful social force. In most cases they offer greater profit sharing for their employees, flex time, tuition reimbursement and comprehensive benefits. The standard has been set and eventually the rest of society will have to meet the standard.
The minority-owned small business has the opportunity to change the way we do business. Even in the early stages, minority-owned businesses exceed corporate offerings. When employees are happy, well-compensated and appreciated, productivity and loyalty increases. While special programs and technology are imperative, the people around you can make or break your success.
The culture of the minority-owned small business is unique. A great desire for diversity is not only accepted but also welcomed – a meeting of the minds so to speak. The Melting Pot theory may be decades old but it has stood the test of time. These days, there is a solution to almost every obstacle the minority business owner might face when starting a small business. Now is the time to seek your opportunity.
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