Businesses owned by people of color have faced barriers to accessing capital, connecting to markets, and expanding that in turn impact the racial wealth gap and diminish the economy’s capacity to grow stronger.
The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded preexisting inequities, with businesses owned by people of color disproportionately represented in impacted industries and unable to access federal aid without strong relationships with traditional financial lenders. Targeted support for HUBs, connections to capital and bonding to start-up and expand, and a focus on equity in procurement will be essential components of an economic recovery that advances more inclusive outcomes in our business communities.
There are a range of ways that North Carolina can support businesses owned by people of color, including encouraging certification as a Historically Underutilized Business and realizing its full value for business owners, providing access to capital and bonding assistance, connecting business owners to technical assistance and expansion planning, and developing and connecting businesses to markets.
You can use these tools to ask your elected leaders what they are doing to support businesses in your community:
- Ten Questions for HUB procurement opportunities: Robeson
- Ten Questions for HUB procurement opportunities: Wilson
The benefits to North Carolina of supporting business success are many and include:
- Expanding opportunity: Expanding HUB certification to enterprises owned by people of color and women will position more of them to become increasingly competitive in the procurement process with public sector institutions.
- Keeping it local: Increasing the participation of HUB-eligible enterprises in public sector contracting opportunities will diversify and strengthen local economies. In communities of color, HUBs are more likely to offer their neighbors direct access to employment. Employing a local workforce will ensure that new dollars will circulate within these often economically isolated locales.
- Building community: Successful HUBs not only infuse jobs and dollars into communities of color, they provide employees, apprentices, and interns the opportunity to learn how owning a business can transform lives. The experience of learning the practical and technical aspects of running a business can have a transformative impact on an individual, their family, and an entire community.
What is a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB)?
In North Carolina, a HUB is a disadvantaged business enterprise which has been certified and is currently participating in the Statewide Uniform Certification Program. The HUB Office works to promote economic opportunities for HUBs in state government contracting and procurement that will foster their growth and profitability, with a goal of at least 10 percent of all state government contracts being awarded to HUB firms.
A HUB is at least 51 percent owned by one or more minority persons or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The term “minority person” means a person who is Black, Hispanic, Asian American, American Indian, and/or female.
For more on the essentials of HUB certification, check out this fact sheet: The Essentials of HUB Certification
Additional Analysis and Resources
- Report: Historically Underutilized Businesses: Opportunities for Growth in N.C.
- Report: Supporting Historically Underutilized Businesses as a Foundation for Equitable Development
- Report: Power Up Prosperity: Accelerating Businesses of Color in North Carolina
- More equitable spending by anchor institutions would lift historically underutilized businesses in North Carolina