Small businesses are the backbone of America. In fact, according to the Small Business Administration, 99.9% of American businesses are categorized as small. These businesses employ a whopping 61.7 million Americans, equating to nearly half of all private sector employees.
While it’s inspiring to consider the positive impact small businesses can have on the US economy, owners are also met with common challenges that can hamper growth and success such as inflation, diminishing revenue and supply chain disruption. Unfortunately, data shows that minority small business owners face additional barriers to growth including lack of access to capital and procurement inequities.
If you’re a minority small business owner, here are three areas of support to explore as you seek to start, expand or sustain your business.
Get certified as a minority-owned business
Federal, state, and local governments and large corporations reserve a percentage of their contracts exclusively for minority-owned businesses. To be considered for a contract, however, your business must be certified as a minority-owned business.
To qualify, your business must meet the following criteria:
- The business owners must be US citizens.
- Must be at least 51% minority-owned, operated and controlled.
- Must be for-profit and physically located in the US or its territories.
- The minority owners must also participate in the daily management and operations of the business.
SCORE, the nation’s largest network of business mentors, has a mission to foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education. On their website, they provide detailed information for how to obtain an official certification as a minority-owned business.
Consider Small Business Banking and Credit Solutions
Whether you’re looking to add a new location, purchase equipment or acquire another business, finding a bank that aligns with your business goals is key. Stellar Bank specializes in supporting businesses throughout the Southeast region of Texas including Greater Houston, Beaumont and surrounding areas as well as Dallas. From our full-service business banking accounts and treasury solutions to loans and business credit cards, we’re committed to building a relationship with you and investing in your success. Through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 7(a) and 504 loan programs, we help provide entrepreneurs with financing terms not available elsewhere under conventional loan guidelines.
An SBA loan can provide the capital you need to start your business and give it the fuel it needs to grow. Here are some of the advantages of an SBA loan:
- Longer repayment terms, up to 25 years
- As low as 10% equity/down payment
- Mixed use of proceeds
- Lower monthly payments
Stellar Bank completes loan decisions and closings locally, which improves the SBA loan process and allows minority-owned businesses to retain more working capital and improve their cash flow.
Tap Into Community Support
Small businesses have a positive social, economic and environmental impact on their local communities. According to the SBA, when someone spends $100 at a small business, $48 is recirculated back into the local economy. So, when it comes to growing your business, networking can go a long way to increasing your exposure and long-term success. Reach out to your local SBA office, community bank, chamber of commerce and existing patrons to build relationships, develop strategies and gather support.
Rallying together with digital communities can also be a powerful resource. LinkedIn has nearly 8,000 groups dedicated to entrepreneurs. Use the search function to narrow-down the industry- and location-specific options that most closely align with your business goals and join in to ask questions, give tips and interact with others.
Additional Minority Business Resources
- Houston Minority Business Development Agency – Specializes in helping minority businesses access procurement opportunities, markets, and capital.
- Houston Office of Business Opportunity – Committed to cultivating a competitive an diverse economic environment in the City of Houston by promoting the success of small businesses and developing Houston’s workforce, with special emphasis on historically underutilized businesses and disenfranchised individuals.
- Dallas Fort Worth Minority Business Development Agency – Whether it's financing, organizational growth, bonding, certification or business-to-business partnering, MBDA Business Center Dallas staff can determine the right resources for your business.
- Greater Houston Partnership – A membership organization that brings together Houston-area businesses and civic leaders.
- Texas Economic Development – Resources for veteran, minority and women-owned small businesses.
- U.S. Small Business Administration – Resources and support to start, fund, manage and grow your business.
Stellar bankers set the standard for responsive, relationship-based community banking and we’re dedicated to helping your business thrive. Visit www.stellar.bank or contact a Stellar banker at 713-499-1800 to connect with our team.