City Offers Minority and Women Business Enterprise Program

women and minority businesses in rocky mount ncWhen historically underutilized businesses grow, the entire community benefits. 

The city realizes this, which is one reason why it is dedicated to its Minority and Women Business Enterprise Program (MWBE). The purpose? To advocate and assist with business growth and opportunities for underutilized businesses, such as those owned by minorities and women. 

What Is the Purpose of MWBE?

The city wants to be sure that these businesses have an equal opportunity to participate in the city’s bidding process. 

Through the MWBE program, the city provides informational sessions, such as a recent virtual workshop to be sure these businesses have the information they need to bid on equipment, supplies, construction projects and building renovations. 

What Qualifies as a Minority Business?

This means that a business is more than half—at least 51 percent—owned by those who are in a minority group or those who are economically disadvantaged.

According to the state, minority groups under the MWBE include:

  • Women
  • Latin Americans
  • Native Americans
  • African Americans
  • Asian Americans

Upcoming Virtual Workshop

The city is holding  a MWBE virtual workshop on “Numbers of Doing Business.” It will be held Jan. 22 from 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., and registration is required. 

The day promises to be informative and engaging with workshop topics including:

  • “The Numbers Behind Operating a Business,” presented by Latasha Best Gaddy
  • “How to Prepare for a Business Loan,” presented by Jessie Maxwell
  • "Strategies and Resources to Help Ensure that MWBEs are Prepared, Equipped, and Vested for Partnerships and Opportunities to Grow Their Business,” presented by Dr. Michael StubbleField & Ada Womack
  • "Marketing on a Budget, presented by Tierra Norwood  

More information can be found at the city’s website

What Are the Challenges that Minority and Women-Owned Businesses Face?

According to Entrepreneur magazine women of color face particular challenges in the business world. Some of these include:

  • A double bias due to both gender and race. This has an overall effect of making it more problematic to get funding. 
  • Representation in business meetings. It’s not unusual for there to be only one female minority in a business meeting. This means they unfairly have to keep “proving themselves” when other attendees do not.
  • Issues with networking.  This is problematic because, like business meetings, very few minority women may attend networking events. According to Entrepreneur magazine:

“It can all seem like a boys’ club that can be hard to get into. It’s precisely the lack of access to these networks, as well as not having the right tools and resources to navigate them, that can prevent perfectly viable businesses from surviving and thriving.”

 

  • Difficulty finding mentors. Did you know that roughly 48 percent of all female business owners do not have access to mentors and advisors? This number is even greater for minority women. 
  • Capital access. Studies have shown that female entrepreneurs are offered smaller loans across all products. Often from the same groups. 

How the City Helps MWBE Companies

The city wants to ensure that these businesses have an equal opportunity to participate in any bidding project, whether for purchasing equipment or supplies. This also paves the way for the equal opportunity to bid on construction contracts as well as those involving building renovations and constructions.

The city also periodically offers workshops to help MWBE companies learn more about the bidding process and working with the city. 

If you’d like more information, take a moment to review this useful document on how to do business with the City of Rocky Mount.

 

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