North Carolina provides a strong base of support for minority business owners, with several groups offering grants, education, lists of bidding opportunities and more. The mission, according to the nonprofit North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development, is to “strengthen the asset base of limited resource populations as a means of building economically vibrant and socially responsible communities.”
North Carolina Minority Business Enterprise Center
The federally funded North Carolina Minority Business Enterprise Center offers a variety of financial and technical help. The center posts a list of bidding opportunities for state, local and private projects on its website. It also offers one-on-one technical assistance, and free, small classes on debt and healthy workplaces, and training for executives. The center is also a clearinghouse for details on a host of financing opportunities.
The Emerging Markets Investment Fund offers working capital to small, minority- and woman-owned businesses. The Golden LEAF Program at Self-Help provides loans to help small businesses in economically distressed counties. There is also general assistance with bonding, loan packaging, and how to win contracts and take advantage of federal stimulus plans. The center is overseen by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency.
The North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development 114 W. Parrish St. Durham, NC 27701 919-956-8889 ncimed.com
The Minority Business Enterprise Program, Greensboro
The Minority Business Enterprise Program in Greensboro was created to make sure all business owners, including women and minorities, have the chance to bid on city projects. The center provides education and technical assistance, to help open Greensboro’s contracting and purchasing programs to all businesses. Businesses owned by women and minorities are more likely to employ women and minorities, according to the city. Involving more people increases the production of quality goods in Greensboro, and the city’s economic vitality, overall.
Minority Business Enterprise Program 800 Green Valley Road, Suite 400 Greensboro, NC 27408 336-373-2674 greensboro-nc.gov
Community Development Block Grant
Federal Community Development Block Grants go to revitalize neighborhoods, often by creating new jobs or keeping current jobs in the neighborhood. Assistance is available to profit-motivated businesses to carry out economic development and job-creating and -retaining activities, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
To propose projects, contact your local city councilman or other representative for information. The CDBG program was started in 1974. The agency provides grants annually, by formula, to 1,204 governmental units nationwide. The goal is to provide decent, affordable housing and services to the vulnerable, as well as to create and keep jobs.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 451 7th St. S.W. Washington, DC 20410 202-708-1112 hud.gov
Based in New York City, Sara Harvey has written about the environment, city planning, health and lifestyles since 1994. A former newspaper reporter, she now writes freelance full time. Her work has appeared in "Boho," a New York-based green fashion magazine, and several humor, parenting and business publications. Harvey has a bachelor's degree in print journalism.