Resources for Black-Owned Business Success
Franchisors in the IFA's MinorityFran program are actively looking to recruit minority prospects. Through the program, the franchises extend incentives to their prospects, including reductions in initial franchise fees, additional marketing support or incentives to establish brands in underserved communities that could provide tax credits to the franchisee, among other programs.
The IFA is also about to launch a "Meet the Mayors" program in three cities this year, kicking off in Burnsville, Minn. on Aug. 23. According to IFA spokesman Matt Haller, the program is focused on inner-city franchise development and will address topics such as:
Development issues including the permit process;
How to effectively communicate with economic development officials;
New market expansion;
What it would take to establish an economic development fund; and
Access to capital.
"It's all about accelerating franchising," says Miriam Brewer, the IFA's senior director of education and diversity.
American Express OPEN Forum
American Express (AXP) is trying to be a major resource for small business owners through its online community, OPEN Forum. The financial services company has particularly looked to be the expert resource when it comes to small-business government contracting.
A recent survey commissioned by the company on government contracting found that it took active African-American business owners 1.7 years to win their first federal contract, compared to the 1.3 years it took for the average small business contractors, even though the group is, on average, submitting more bids than small business contractors overall.
The effort is paying off, though. While small business contractors saw their overall success rate in prime contracting decline by 8% for the two-year period between 2008 and 2010, as compared to the 2007 to 2009 period, African American contractors' success rate in prime contracting remained stable, the March survey found.
Jennefer Witter, owner of The Boreland Group, a public relations firm, praised her recent experience with learning more about government contracting through Amex OPEN. She was recently certified as a minority and women-owned businesses to increase her chances of winning government contracts.