This panel will illuminate how organizations from across the country are coming together to tackle the challenges faced by makers and manufacturers of color as they try to access capital (both debt and equity). Maker and manufacturer businesses are expensive to start up and run because of high equipment and space costs. Moreover, financial institutions are more likely to see these firms as a risky bet from a lending perspective because they may not produce the high returns of tech or other industries. All of this is compounded by the fact that there are well-documented racial inequities in the way capital is deployed to entrepreneurs of color in an array of sectors. Yet we need a diverse base of makers and manufacturers because they provide good-paying jobs, drive local innovation, create career paths that give workers both technology and production skills, and promote generational wealth.
Small businesses are extremely vulnerable to fraud. Many small businesses to do not have processes in place to effectively mitigate risks or the resources necessary to successfully recover from fraudulent attacks. Michael D. Thornton, Sr., Chief Operating Officer, and small business co-owner will offer a unique perspective on the dangers of cyber-attacks and corporate embezzlement, along with strategies for recovery and resilience.
In this breakout session, we will share replicable models designed to increase participation with Latinx populations and an incubator series developed to reach undocumented entrepreneurs. We also will explore the online resource platform Venturize.org, which connects entrepreneurs nationwide with technical assistance providers and responsible lenders. These programs have emerged from our work to reduce barriers to entrepreneurship and ensure that all entrepreneurs have equitable access to the resources they need. We will use this discussion of current programs and lessons learned to spark conversation around strategies to further strengthen and increase support services for local small businesses, as well as strategies to increase awareness of available services and resources. Attendees will learn about the importance of connecting the local “ecosystem” of small business support organizations and will brainstorm new approaches that could work in their own communities.
Are your organization’s marketing efforts helping to create an inclusive economy that supports all groups? Or… are they doing the opposite? In this talk, you’ll learn 5 common marketing “blind spots” for EDOs, and how to instead create more inclusivity, equity, and diversity through your communications: 1) Why taking a sharp look at your current marketing materials is essential to discovering your own “blind spots”; 2) Specific ways to create more diversity and inclusivity in your marketing — and local businesses — through storytelling; 3) Key practices to make it easier for marginalized groups to find you so you can give them the support they need; 4) How to get the perspective of minorities and underserved groups (especially if you’re a one-person office with limited resources) so you can better serve them; 5) How collaborations and partnerships with other regions can be used to create more diversity — and how this supports all parties involved.
In this discussion-based session, we will share best practices of our program and inspire others to implement a coaching aspect to their small business development programs. Participants will come away with the answers to the following questions: 1) Why utilize coaches; 2) Who to recruit as a coach; 3) What to expect of a coach; 4) How to pair coaches and program participants.