Minority Women benefits that Federal and State governments don't offer to men.
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       It’s no secret to anyone in the business world, and many of those who are not, that women have historically been required to produce significantly larger output than a man occupying the same position.  When combined with the socially-appointed responsibility of bearing and raising children, finding the time to follow one’s dream is severely impaired.  Ask any entrepreneur and the majority will tell you that in order to succeed, a business owner must be ready to dedicate anywhere from 60-100 hours a week to the business.  The importance of time dedication is magnified by 10x when talking about a first time entrepreneur.

                Fortunately, there are a staggering number of public, private, and non-profit organizations whose mission is to provide enterprise assistance in all departments of a  Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB).  Since most of the programs available are fee of charge, not seizing these incredible opportunities will become another bad decision in a long line bad decisions to come.

#1 Cheap Financing

                After “you must dedicate all your time to your new business”; “99% of all small business fail after three years due to lack of capital” Finishes as a close second on the podium when competing for the business advice most commonly given by individuals with ZERO business experience.  While WOSBs are not exempt from assiduous financial stability and management,

                Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA]  loans are made to minority woman-owned businesses in PA and will  finance up to 90% of an eligible total project costs, or $250,000, whichever is less. Eligible projects include Land and building acquisitions; Building construction and renovations; Machinery and equipment costs including acquisition and installation; Working capital Costs.

#2 Earmarked Government Contracts

  1. In 2017 alone, the federal government awarded over 24 billion in contracts to WOSBs. (USAspending.gov shows. (from https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2018/04/women-owned-biz-receive-fraction-of-fed-contracts/ ) [website has great chart that tracks $s in fed K’s to WOBs 2008:2017]
  2. 8(a) Business Development Program was formed to assist WOB and MOBs compete in a competitive landscape despite being subject to economic and social disadvantages consistent with recognized sex, race, nationality, and gender groups.
  3. Eligible SBOs receive assistance in capital, operations, and human resource areas.

    Nationwide organizations such as the  Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)(https://www.wbenc.org/) offer grants and scholarships, networking, and procurement  resources for women employed by, or working in  enterprises of all sizes and sophistication.  Diversity initiatives are also prevalent with the WBENC.  Local partner  Women’s Business Enterprise Center East is the regional WBENC branch serving Pennsylvania,  Delaware, and South New Jersey.

    A qualification under Pennsylvania’s Small Business Contracting Program is that  the small business must be owned by a woman Small Diverse Businesses (SDB) verification is part of the PA Department of General Services, Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion & Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO).

#3  The Large Number of Women and Minority Business Organizations.

                The SBA’s Women Business Centers are scattered throughout more than 100 cities in the United States. SBA.gov. The WBCs are education centers whose mission is to mitigate that inequalities that women commonly experience during the early stages of their newly-formed enterprise.  Services available include advice, mentoring, training, certification(s), networking opportunities and other community-centric initiatives.  For the nearest Women Business Center to you, check SBA,gov for listings by state.

     Likewise, the Bureau of Minority and Women Business Opportunities (BMWBO) works for minority, women, and socially disadvantaged businesses to provide them with information and resources on how to obtain Commonwealth contracting opportunities in the fields of construction, procurement, real estate, and Energy Savings.

                In the past 20 years the United States has experienced a dramatic increase in recognizing diverse cultures and communities and has been accompanied by an marked increase in Federal, State, local, non-profit and privately operated organizations dedicated to addressing inequalities that previously plagued under-represented population groups.  Regardless of your age, sex, nationality, culture, belief system, economic condition etc… there is an entity that exists to aid your demographic in any number of endeavors.

# 4 Home Field Advantage

    By forming a business in the geographic location familiar to them, the entrepreneur has knowledge of the local population that is not available via statistics or studies.  The ability to tailor a product/service to one’s customer base is a huge competitive advantage to a business; one that is not easily acquired without a lifetime of exposure to an area.  For example, in August 2019, The Harambee Ujma Black Art Festival was held in the Pittsburgh neighborhood Homewood (Allegheny County).  A business owner familiar with this area would be better positioned to promote and sell their goods/services as a vendor during this festival.

                Many MBE/WBE/DBE businesses are started in or around the neighborhoods most negatively impacted by the social and economic burdens private and public programs are designed to help.  In addition to Federal and State funded programs, local governments and communities participate in programs whose mission is to assist struggling neighborhoods in rehabilitation and growth.  These programs are especially numerous in metropolitan areas like Allegheny and Philadelphia counties. ,

     Further, community pillars such as churches and schools are local resources that entrepreneurs can turn to for assistance or exposure.  These institutions are firmly engraved in their communities and are often associated with individuals that desire to bring about positive changes for themselves and the community as a whole.

#5 Increased Recognition via Events

     Allegheny County alone has over 100 festivals yearly dedicated to one or more nationalities and/or minority groups.  Attendance is usually free and Vendor licenses can be obtained by a business for under $100 for certain events.  These are a great opportunity to gain exposure in the community and connect with similarly situated people and businesses.  TIP: the public loves free stuff, so make sure your company has plenty of “swag” with your logo on it to give away.

  Benefits like those listed here are just a small sample of the many advantages offered to women, minorities, disabled, economically disadvantaged and veteran entrepreneurs.    If you are a minority or woman-owned business, or would like to start one today, contact Calabrese Legal Services now to schedule a consultation with Attorney Calabrese.

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