There are more than 20 million businesses owned by minorities, women and LGBTQ individuals in the United States. Research shows these business owners typically receive less funding. For example, only 11 percent of minority-owned firms have paid employees, compared to 22 percent non-minority firms. Studies have shown that male entrepreneurs are more likely than female entrepreneurs to raise $100,000 or more of outside funding for their startups, which can impact their ability to rent office space or expand on their vision.
Greg Almieda, CEO of Global View Communications, a diversity and inclusion business strategy firm – has worked with Rockland Trust for many years. He suggests that every business owner develop their own personal network:
“Every individual’s network looks different. Some are comprised of entrepreneurial family members or friends, while others are business contacts. A robust network can help you start, grow and evolve your business, as well as offer moral support when you need it.”
Groups for Support
There are many groups across Massachusetts that provide support, such as mentors, to businesses owned by LGBTQ individuals, minorities and women. This can help in expanding your network and learning how to navigate challenges you may face. Below are some examples:
There also are some state and federal programs that may help. For example, you can be certified by both state and private organizations.
Why can certification be helpful?
The benefits include differentiation from other businesses that are not certified and it can be advantageous, especially if your business deals in government contracts.
Some business owners decide against certification because the process is long and tedious, requiring business owners to divulge a lot of company information. The choice is up to each individual business owner.
You also may want to check out your local chamber of commerce to see if there are any groups dedicated to businesses owned by women, LGBTQ individuals or minorities that can connect you with resources within your community. These groups are a great place to find a local support network and possibly a mentor. Having a team of business advisors who can help you navigate challenges specific to your business is the key to success.At the end of the day, make sure you have a financial partner that understands your needs and goals. Our dedicated staff of business bankers are always happy to talk to you about your business’s financial game plan.
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