The State of Black and Latino Entrepreneurship in America: Strategies for a Post-Pandemic Recovery

Just Economy Conference – May 3, 2021

Marisa CalderonChief of Community Finance & Mobility, NCRC
Jennifer GarciaCEO, Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative
Bob DickersonExecutive Director, Birmingham Business Resource Center


NCRC video transcripts are produced by a third-party transcription service and may contain errors. They are lightly edited for style and clarity.

Calderon  0:00

Today I have Jennifer Garcia, Interim CEO of the Latino Business Action Network. LBAN collaborates with and champions the efforts of the Stanford Latino entrepreneurship initiative. Since she joined them in 2018, Jennifer has overseen program cohorts for over 300 Latino and Latina entrepreneurs in the Stanford Latino entrepreneurship initiatives education scaling program. Welcome, Jennifer.

And Bob Dickerson as well. In addition to his role as chairman of NCRC, Bob serves as executive director of the Birmingham Business Resource Center, and Chief Executive Officer of foundation capital, a small business administration certified development company where his efforts on capital access and capacity building have resulted in nearly 900 million in loans to businesses since 1996. And welcome, Bob. Thank you both for joining us today. So let’s get right to it. Our conversation today will center on strategies for post pandemic recovery specific to black and Latino, small business and understand how we get there. Let’s talk first about how black and Latino small businesses were doing pre pandemic. Jennifer, since its inception, the Stanford Latino entrepreneurship initiative has produced annual reporting on the state of play for Latino entrepreneurs. Can you give us some context for the Latino small business contribution to the overall economy pre pandemic?

Garcia 1:20

Right? Yes, absolutely. I just want to say thank you, Marissa, thank you, for your leadership and for bringing this conversation to the table. I certainly think it is timely and important that we’re talking about this. So as you did mention, you know, I’m with LBAN, but we collaborate with Stanford University, and we champion the Stanford Latino entrepreneurship initiative. And that initiative is twofold: it’s research and it’s education. But on the research side, we survey over 5000 Latino business owners on an annual basis. And we’re really looking to understand the trends, the factors that are contributing to growth, the factors that are impeding growth. So if I look at pre pandemic, what Latino business owners were doing, how would I describe that? I would say that they were thriving entrepreneurs that they were opportunity driven entrepreneurs. So what does that mean? If I look at the report against we’ve done, this is our sixth annual so if I look at the report from 2019, it’s the state of Latino entrepreneurship research report. In that report, it found that Latino owned businesses reported an average revenue growth of 14% in 2019, which outpaced the US economy. So what that tells me is that the cohort of Latino businesses are successful business leaders, they are resilient. They know how to handle adversity. So when they are put in a conducive business environment, they thrive, they are thriving entrepreneurs. another statistic here is 85% of new Latino entrepreneurs are what the Kauffman Foundation characterizes as opportunity entrepreneurs. And what that simply means is that they start business out of an opportunity, they see an opportunity rather than a need, which is sometimes the perception. So this translates into four out of five Latino owned businesses that are started, are starting because they saw an opportunity. And this is all in 2019. So Latinos, you know it again, to summarize, Latinos have persevered, they’ve been resilient from a personal and a social perspective. And what that has translated into from a business perspective is that they are entrepreneurial in nature, but they are resilient and innovative business leaders, and which makes them, you know, the fastest growing segment of Latino businesses in the United States. And I will say to that pre pandemic, there were 400,000 Latino owned employer, businesses. And I, I emphasize employer because that means they are businesses that are employing they have at least one or more employees, and generating nearly 500,000 billion in annual revenue and employing 3.4 million people. That’s, you know, that’s fantastic cohort of business leaders. I will say, Marissa that an opportunity gap also exists, right, and I didn’t mention this, but we know that Latino businesses are the fastest growing business business segment in the United States. But we also know that only 3% of Latino owned businesses ever reach a million dollars. So there really does create an opportunity gap. And what that means is, if you know owned firms employ your firm’s generated the same amount of revenue and employ the same amount of people as non Latino owned businesses. The economic contribution out would be 900 billion, the employees would be 4.2 million. Right. So just to give you the differential between that, and the opportunity is that by not having these Latino owned businesses scale to a same or similar level, we are missing out on 400 billion 400 billion being added to the US economy. And we’re missing out on a bill on 1 million jobs. So we can see purely from an economic perspective why it’s important that Latino owned businesses, that we focus on it that we surrounded them with support and resources, because they are important, they’re an imperative cohort to the US, not only recovery, but growth.

Calderon 5:50

That’s great. So, you know, despite a lot of challenges, which we’ll talk about in a moment, a lot of good news, pre pandemic for Latino entrepreneurs. Bob, there are over 2 million Black-owned businesses in the US that generate more than 150 billion in revenue. Can you tell us about some of the characteristics of business formation and the industries within which Black entrepreneurs were represented before the pandemic? I think we may have an audio.

Dickerson 6:25

All right. Thank you so much. You hear me now. Okay. Well, thanks Marisa, thank you for setting that up. You did a fantastic job. So yes, you know, when you really think about it, over the past 20-25 years, Black and Brown entrepreneurs have been playing a vital role in starting new businesses, actually outpacing our numbers in terms of our percentage of the population. And I think that we all know that two things, I think we have to focus on: a) one of the important factors in closing, closing the racial wealth gap is going to be our starting rolling and being successful in business. And we can talk a bit about what success looks like. One of those things that we measure, and Jennifer hit on it with the Latino business community, really outpacing the Black business community are the number of employees so the more employees a business has, the more we will quote and quote, we’ll lean toward calling that a successful enterprise. The other thing is revenue generation, the more revenue obviously, that a business generates, then the more successful we think they are. And so when you think about what was happening, what has been happening to black and brown businesses over the past several decades, and oftentimes history doesn’t tell, you know, the real story about the entrepreneurial spirit. I think, Jennifer mentioned that these businesses have always put themselves in a pasture to be chasing opportunity. My mentors, ag Gaston in one of his his most famous sayings was find a need and fill it. And so businesses in our communities have been finding these and filling those for decades and decades, as a matter of fact, for probably more than a century. But we don’t talk about that enough. When So, so, I’ve worked with fortunately, businesses that come in all shapes and sizes, having done SBA financing, having worked for several banks throughout my career. And so the black and brown business community in this in this case, especially the black business community represents a lot of different industry segments. Everything from healthcare, childcare, facilities, management, janitorial. There are more and more companies getting into tech and digital marketing. Of course, we’ve always had construction and building services, food services, which includes restaurants, caterers, even some of the mobile food services, we all know about the the personal services, cosmetology, fitness. So all of these kinds of businesses have been represented well, and all of these are people who are chasing opportunities. That was the fact pre pandemic, and it is the fact after pandemic. The question is, what is what are these businesses going to look like coming out of the pandemic? And how do we continue to give them opportunities? How do we continue as technical assistance providers and folks that represent CDFIs? How do we respond to what they’re going to look like and what they’re going to need coming out of 2020 it’s forcing us to sort of reposition ourselves and think more critically about the services that we provide little small businesses.

Calderon 10:07

That’s great. I mean, so really, for both segments of entrepreneurs, a lot of growth that is outpacing their white counterparts, you know, for some different reasons, and potentially in some different sectors. And, and this is all really, despite a lot of challenges that have been faced historically by these two communities. So can we talk a little bit about some of the challenges that have been faced by Latino and Black entrepreneurs in starting and growing their businesses and in Bob, if we can go to your first.

Dickerson 10:41

Sure. Well, obviously, access to capital, I think, if you, you know, if you did an interview on the street of any American city, and put a microphone in someone’s face, they’re gonna say that Black people can’t get money, and they’re right. I mean, it’s difficult to get access to capital. There are a lot of reasons for that, you know, financial standing, ownership of x, assets. wealth in our communities, obviously, a person who has low wealth is likely to have a lower credit score. So all of those things play into an inability of African American businesses or other brown businesses to access capital, coupled with that, the fact that we are not as connected to the large, powerful stakeholders that some other people are. So when you add this, this lack of access to capital with the fact that we don’t have those social networks that really help us even access capital access opportunities, it really has created this kind of systemic disenfranchisement that is persisted in, in in our business community and and our community as a whole. And so we have to continue to fight to make sure that capital markets and lenders do understand that it is very important that our businesses be allowed the opportunity to access capital for business growth and business formation, even though some of the characteristics that we bring to the table may work against us in many instances.

Calderon  12:27

Great, and Jennifer, you know, certainly business formation is being led by Latinos and Black entrepreneurs. However, some of the challenges that Latino entrepreneurs differ or similar to the ones that Bob described.

Garcia  12:41

I gotta say, Bob did a fantastic overview there, because access to capital is a critical factor in scaling a business. It’s a critical factor in creating and starting a business, and certainly one that has been impacting both black and brown businesses, I’m going to approach this from the lens of Latino owned businesses, because, you know, that’s where I’m working. That’s, that’s kind of a lens that I have on. But let me just take this through a stereo storyline, if I may, the funding gap has always existed. We know that data has told us that for years, but it has certainly been illuminated as we look at the storyline from 2020. And the pandemic, it really starts by understanding what was the need for relief aid, and tracking where that relief aid ended and what happened and what businesses it reached. So we can say in 2020, and, you know, we can point back to the data on this 82% reported negative impacts that again, 82% of us, you know, own businesses reported a net negative impacts. Only 33% ended up applying for PPP funding in round one. So we dug into why was there such a low rate of those that applied. And so we analyze that further. And we found a couple of different things. And this will again, emphasize these factors that Bob just mentioned, 45% of those that were interested in applying for PPP, reported that they lacked the guidance on how to apply. It just didn’t know how to get to a lender, they didn’t know how to put their materials together, etc. One in five, found that they did not have a reported that they didn’t have the required application materials. A lot of that is pointing back to the financial records. And then 17% reported that they didn’t have a clear or an established banking provider. Now I do want to share something and this will tie in the whole picture of why the tail tie in the picture of what’s important for business owners, when we look at those that applied and that those that received funding for PPP round one 18% of skilled Latino business owners received funding and again scaled our businesses. The way we define sealed it is businesses that have received or achieved a million dollars in annual revenue or greater. So certainly the unskilled businesses the statistic is much lower but for scaled businesses 18% received funding in comparison to 28% of white owned businesses. Now, if I look at the network, the LBAN network, the Stanford Latino entrepreneurship entrepreneurship network, of our alumni companies 82% received funding that is an astronomical difference, right? So let me tell you, my interpretation of this is one, the systematic structures that exist to support small businesses. Those that are those organizations and structures that are designed to connect DC to mainstream businesses, did not adequately, adequately connect with Latino owned businesses, that good points back to they didn’t know they didn’t have the guidance, they didn’t know that they didn’t have the know how, in terms of how do I connect with this type of relief aid. This data also highlights the importance of being part of a professional resource and network, I pointed to the success that we had within our own alumni 82%. That, absolutely, hands down goes back to how powerful and important it is for a business owner to be part of a professional network. And just to give you a glimpse of what was happening, certainly we as the leadership team, we were bringing webinars and information and subject matter experts to our network consistently. This is the latest news. This is, you know, this is some changes that they just made, or they just announced or the portals about to open, be ready, this is the material work you’re going to need. So that all came from the leadership side. But what was happening amongst the business owners themselves was extremely powerful, because what they were doing is they were saying, I applied here, this is what they told me, I went to this bank, it didn’t work. But I went to this provider, and they approved my application in three days. And so that information sharing and resource sharing became extremely, extremely powerful. And again, why I point back to, if you as a business owner are not part of a professional network. Today is the day to certainly identify one and be part of one. And then lastly, with this, you know, this storyline tells me here is the importance of business owners really owning their financials and maintaining accurate and timely records. Oftentimes, what I see with businesses is that they are great at running their business or doing their business and their product or their service, but is the overall business oversight that could be challenging for some of the entrepreneurs. And so it’s really saying, you know, we really have to ingrain our business owners and leaders to say you have to own your financials, you have to understand your records on a timely and accurate level leverage technology, leverage professional services to do so. But those companies that were able to produce financial records were much more prepared for application time. We saw that in PPP, and we’re seeing it now with some of the relief options as well. That’s a really great article of, of how addressing that social capital

Calderon  18:45

A really great run down of how addressing that social capital deficit can have a powerful positive effect on the Latino business community and other business communities as well. Now, Bob, I know that the impacts of COVID and of what felt like a screeching halt for shut down for small business were felt acutely, not just by the Latino business community, but by the black business community as well. Can you talk a little bit about what some of the reasons are, that the impact was felt disproportionately by Black entrepreneurs?

Dickerson  19:18

Yes. And thank you, Jennifer, you’ve mentioned a couple of things. And I just want to highlight one of the training tools and tips that we should all use, as we coach and guide and try to advance my businesses is to always be on top of your administrative paperwork. We’ve been preaching that and teaching that for years and years. And I think that the PPP opportunity or the lack of opportunity for people who weren’t prepared who weren’t fastidious about keeping good records and having records available, was a moment that maybe a lot of folks woke up. When I looked at the report that the SBA put out. And obviously, some of it should have been embarrassing with a number of businesses that were able to immediately get the $10 million loans. And there were pages and pages of 10, and then nine, and so forth, and so on. But those were people who not only had their records, obviously, it’s a lot different than that business of that type business on a small mom and pop. But it’s very important that our businesses understand the importance of really having good documentation, because you never know when you’re going to need it. And I’ve always talked to businesses about the fact that if you don’t have the documentation, if there is a delay in you actually producing it, then in a lot of ways you are prejudicing the lender, to even be more cautious and more concerned about your ability as a business owner. And, you know, you’ve given them a little bit more concerned about the quality of your credit application. So so just let me let me just just mention that so many businesses that had begun to thrive, and I use that word a bit guardedly, you know, bit cautiously but have begun to thrive had begun to hit their stride, now found themselves in a position where, through no fault of their own, they were shut down. By COVID-19, we ran a long program here in Birmingham, for the city and our community foundation. And all of us when we started back in March of 2020, providing zero interest loans for small businesses, most of us felt that well, this is going to be you know, two months, three months, which was the basis of PPP, it was eight weeks of, of rent or payroll or assistance with utilities. None of us really expected that the the impact of COVID-19, but last now for the last 1415 months. And so those businesses that could take PPP and infuse it into their operation, maintain employment, you know, keep paying their bills and survive are still doing that. But so many companies were not able to do that, even with some assistance from the city of Birmingham in our case, or the SBA will pvp. One of the things that we are learning here in Birmingham, is that we really don’t know at this moment in time, and it is still difficult to tell who the survivors are going to be, it’s still really impossible to know what businesses are going to look like coming out of, of this pandemic, whenever we actually come out of it, which ones are going to be healthy, which ones are going to be healthy enough with a bit of remediation and repair to stay in business, and which ones have already shuttered? And because these businesses are small, many of them have have stopped doing business. And we haven’t found out yet. So so. So as we come out of this, we’ve still got some lessons that we’ve got to learn. And one of those will be who can we continue to work with, in order to help them stay in business? And and frankly, we’ve got to figure out who can we work with to help them get back in business? And what are some of those programs and projects going to look like?

Calderon  23:38

And Bob, actually, on that note, there was a recent survey that was done by spelke Small Business majority that found that one in five black or Latino small business owners expect to permanently close by the beginning of the second quarter of this year. And that’s where we are right now. So, you know, can we talk a little bit more about what you just mentioned that, you know, if 20% of black and Latino businesses are going to forever be shuttered? What can we do in the near term, the next six months to a year to address, you know, potentially stemming that tide? And what kind of impact would happen on the economy if that were to happen?

Dickerson  24:20

Well, obviously, it’s not you know, for their personal situation is not to be bad, especially those who were depending on that business income to support their families. So we can see without, you know, much imagination, what that’s going to look like, but But what I’ve been trying to focus on was not the fact that the one in five, we’re going to are now closed and that businesses, quote unquote, permanently closed. I have tended to want to focus our attention on those entrepreneurs, who are just that we’re who inside of them have this innate drive to Entrepreneurs an innate drive to being self employed, you know, a real pension for what they do. And so, you know, those folks may shutter this particular business. But but but I’ve seen it start to happen now many of them are going to be looking for opportunities down the road, and where Yes, they may not have whether the 2020 2021 COVID pandemic, they are going to be looking to launch different businesses to relaunch, perhaps the business that they that they had. And they’re going to need our help. And so I would really hope that those of us who are in the areas of providing coaching and counseling and technical assistance to businesses, those of us who are running CDFIs, and other lending organizations, and our folks in the banking community would understand the need for us to have patient understanding innovative, progressive products and services for the folks, those entrepreneurs who want to return.

Calderon  26:10

That’s great. And Jennifer, what are your thoughts?

Garcia 26:15

You know, 100% aligned with what Bob just said, If I could just add a specific segment to your comments there. Bob is I would add that Latinas, again, I’m approaching everything from the lens of Latino entrepreneurship, because that’s my world. But nearly twice as many Latina led companies experienced closure compared to Latino led businesses, twice as many. And I’m sure there’s many factors in their personal is probably a huge component, likely due to the traditional roles that Latinos play within their home. But what you were just saying, Bob, like, do we need to come together collectively, corporately, NGOs, public, private sectors, to really create an environment that is conducive for women to step back into entrepreneurship and small businesses, is for them to gain access to resources, business coaching, mentoring, capital, whatever, you know, we should be innovative as NGOs, as corporate, corporate citizens as the public, you know, the public segment, or sector, we need to be creative and innovative in terms of how do we support business owners that were really challenged, that had to shut their doors. And I think, to your point, I think the jury’s still out if these are going to be permanent closures, or temporary closures. But we certainly know that Latinas have been hit hard, and that there is opportunity for us to impact impact them and support them into recovery and into entrepreneurship in their next event.

Calderon 27:53

That’s all great. Well, so both of you have acknowledged that Black and Latino entrepreneurs continue to face a lot of the same challenges today, that they faced pre pandemic and likely into the future. So kind of getting underneath what Jennifer just mentioned about those innovative solutions would love Bob, if you could share a little bit more about what some of those innovations might be and, and what we can do to be able to address, in particular the ongoing issue of access to capital?

Dickerson  28:26

Well, well, one of the things that I would do, right off the bat is to sort of throw away the analysis of historical business performance, say 2020/2021. If I were considering a loan to a business that was hurt by COVID. I want to look back at their 2016, 17, 18 performance and use and make more of my decision based on that because we know that their balance sheet and their p&l statement, or their credit report is not going to look the same. And so I would think that the banks would be sensitive or any lender would be sensitive. CDF eyes obviously have played an important role. They don’t have the credit criteria nor the regulatory pressure that that some banks have and will admit that but but CDF eyes have limited resources. You know, you don’t have CDF eyes, the size and strength of our major financial institutions. So undergirding CDF eyes, and then understanding that their performance cannot just be measured to the performance of their long portfolio. I often use this analogy that CDFIs are like a minor league baseball team. The big league team isn’t interested in the minor league team winning a pennant they’re interested in them, sending players to the majors. And I think that as we look at using CDFIs, they help us rebound. Understanding that certain amount of risk, even more risks that has been taken in the past is going to be important for us to get more people back in the game. back into business. So those are just two things that I think are really, really important. The final thing on that, though, is that I think our banks have to reassess what they feel credit worthiness is. And it looks like, and this is not just for black and Latino businesses, this is across the board. There are a lot of folks heard, that we’re not black, and we’re not Latino, and whose financial statements also won’t look as well as they did in 2018, and perhaps 2019. So I think just this re assessment, this shift, and maybe a reconsideration of what credit worthiness looks like, considering the fact that we just came through COVID is something that the entire financial industry might need to look to look at.

Calderon  30:50

Great, great comments of Jennifer, did you have anything to add with respect to access to capital in particular?

Garcia  30:59

You know again, Bob highlighted and hit on so many key points here, one of the things that I’ll add to this is our last, our most recent research report, which was released in January, sound that Latino owned businesses are 60% less likely to be funded by national banks. So again, that is just a monumental statistic that tells me there is so much work to be done. And certainly there are controllable factors that a business owner can work on and elevate. And then there are systematic factors that I think lenders across the country need to internalize and evaluate as well. But when we talk about access to capital, we certainly know that there was work to be done for small businesses, black and brown alike. but to also speak to where do we go from here? Right, what are the actions that we can take from here, as we move forward, I believe that it would be a true loss. If businesses return to business as usual, we have gone through too much in 2020. We have experienced too much. We have learned too much that if we just go back to business as usual, we would be missing out on a huge opportunity. What I mean by that is we observe many businesses operate with a heightened sense of awareness of urgency, of creativity, of innovation. We’ve seen them pivot and pivot again, you know, to the extent where they might have whiplash at this point. But the pandemic really created ever changing business environments. And it was that resilience, it was that innovation that allowed businesses to pivot some to thrive, some to maybe just survive. But I believe it’s a great opportunity for businesses to maintain that same sense of urgency and that innovation. And you know, just because you’re recovering, just because you’ve had a great first quarter first, first year, don’t stop there in bed, that innovation into the ongoing process and operations of your company, find cheaper ways, find faster ways, find better ways to bring your product or service to the market. But I would say is like keep that COVID edge, right? We’re all sitting at the edge, because of a pandemic. Keep that as you go forward into a as we go forward into an economy of recovery. And then from a very practical sense, and perspective, I would say, understand that the complexity of your company is going to increase as your employees increase. And you have to understand as a business leader, you have to identify what are the key challenges or opportunities that are facing my company in the here and now and have laser like focus on attacking those issues. I know that for a small business for an entrepreneur, we can be you know, we can fall into this shiny object syndrome, right? This shiny object syndrome is our nemesis, you need to have a strategy, and you need to execute on that. And there’s so many resources, ideas and tips that could pull us in so many different directions, but you certainly want to make sure that we have a laser like focus. Last thing I would say here is again, pointing back to 2019 pre pandemic or research report identified several different strategies that correlated with business growth. And the two tools that I want to share today is focusing on satisfying existing customers and bidding on corporate and government procurement contracts. This is where it comes right we’re talking about growth of a business we’re talking about increasing your sales and revenue. You want to make sure that you are looking and focusing on your customer service on your retention. How/Where are you retaining your customers? How are you understanding how your customers needs differ today in 2021, than they did, you know, q4 of 2020. And then I’m sure we’ll talk about this a little bit more. But seeking after those corporate and government contracts, preparing yourself from a certification perspective, but also from a presentation perspective, really getting your company to a place where you can seek out and bid on new contracts. I think those are great opportunities as we look to the future of recovery and growth.

Calderon  35:38

That’s great. And Bob, I know you’ve talked a lot about how important it is for a business to actually be able to sell and earn revenue, and in the role of certification and procurement. So I’d love for you to expand a little bit on that.

Dickerson  35:51

Yes, sure, Marissa, and I love the having the COVID edge and no business as usual. I think I’ve got it. I’m gonna borrow that, Jennifer, thank you for that. Um, so a sign on the wall of one of my bosses back in my career said nothing happens until somebody sells something. And it’s been sort of a guiding principle of the way I’ve tried to deal with businesses, because I understand that as a technical assistance provider, and as a access to capital person, a banker or a financier, that if if those companies don’t make a sale and don’t sell enough to pay the debt back and make it worthwhile to be in business, then all is adult. And so we focused a lot of our attention on vendor and supplier development, not necessarily just supplier diversity, but vendor and supplier development, so that we are working with those firms who have real opportunities being provided to them by in many cases, many public, public utility companies, major corporations, etc. focusing our attention on those folks that have an a real opportunity to sale a real opportunity in a defined market, I think will be very helpful to them. And as we speed up the recovery of our black and brown businesses, it’s something that we really, all of us should focus more of our attention on, and then use our advocacy. On the other hand of the other end, to make sure that these firms know that there is a value in doing business with diverse companies, they know that there is a value in doing business with black and brown firms. And that value is about more than just everybody’s bottom line. But there’s a community value that we can extract when we grow companies, it from from those communities from the black and brown communities. The other thing, I would just just go back to one of the things that is very important for our businesses to do, and it is to work on their businesses as opposed to hinder businesses. as Jennifer was talking, it made me think about that. But but but as we come out, developing strategies, understanding what works, understanding what didn’t have a vision for the future is also critical. And so so between making sure that we understand where we’re trying to go in business, and those of us on the technical assistance and counseling, and understand that we can focus our attention on businesses that have real opportunities for more sales and revenue generation are two important factors.

Calderon  38:41

That’s really great. So you know, throughout our conversation, both of you have talked/ touched on technical assistance and small business resources. You know, Jennifer, I wonder, if starting with you, if you can talk a little bit about the kind of mentoring and, and training and technical assistance that would be helpful to Latino entrepreneurs, and I’m sure that you’ll have a lot to share with respect to the programs that the Stanford Latino entrepreneurship initiative offers.

Garcia  39:12

Yeah, absolutely. Well, we recognize that small businesses across the board need the support and resources going into 2021. And here’s what’s really important that I want to communicate is for our small businesses, we have to get the mindset that we are now in a growth phase right? shortly, there’s still wounds that we might be recovering from. But the US economy is projected to expand this year, it’s projected to have a stellar year of quote unquote, here, a stellar year in 2021. If small businesses don’t grab on to that, and until q4, it’s going to be too late. Right so from today, we want to say you want to position your business to think about growth in 2021. There’s lots of work to be done in that. I’ll extend an invitation right now, we are having a resources that matter webinar coming up on May 27. This particular session is focused directly on capital to understand what is the capital landscape? What are different capital options, what are different capital providers that you can seek out based on your company, your company’s needs, what is the type of product that would be applicable to you. And then the second half of that conversation is going to be what we talked about earlier, is understanding your financial records, let’s make sure that you have your documentation ready that you are leveraging technology so that when you are going into speak to a lender, you have everything in ready, you have your packet ready to deliver, you know, your business, you know, the funds that you need, and you know how you’re going to deploy that. So again, this is a free resource free webinar, may 27, you can visit our website to get more information, we will actually be having about five different sessions free webinars throughout the course of the year to bring again, the resources that matter for businesses in the state of recovery, and then the state of growth in 2021. The other thing that I would say is to any business owner that is skilled, and we just that we just defined, scaled as a million dollars in annual revenue or greater. So if you were in the Kino business owner, a scaled Latino business owner headquartered in United States, I would invite you to apply for our Stanford Latino entrepreneurship initiative, education scaling program. This is an eight week intensive program out of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, it is a fantastic opportunity for really one to focus on your mindset about growth, because that program challenges the way that we have historically defined growth, the way that we have traditionally pursued growth, and we equip participants with the business skill sets and tools needed to grow. So again, you can find more information on our website, around that program. So two things may 27, free resource, and then for skilled Latino business owners, take a look at our scaling program that happens twice a year, the next one will take place in the fall.

Calderon  42:22

Thanks. And Bob, I know that at NCRC, we’ve also been hard at work on our own set of solutions for small businesses, that touch the variety of different communities we serve, including black and brown businesses and women and veterans. So I’d love for you to talk a little bit about what sort of resources are going to be available to folks soon?

Dickerson 42:45

Okay, well, thank you for your work in that area. The NCRC has established a small business training and mentorship program, that’s going to actually a pilot is going to include 100, small businesses from various industries, they’re going to, they’re going to participate on a four week business training and mentorship program, I am really excited about getting this off the ground, because these folks are going to have the opportunity to to spend time with subject matter experts, folks that can really consult with them about their specific needs. And those are some of the things that we have found to be very valuable, that the one on one mentoring and counseling is, is great. It’s always good to have the classes and the workshops and the seminars, but when you can get with someone one on one that can really help you move the needle towards success. So, so, so we’re excited about doing that these, the training framework has already been developing. And if I go through it, you know, it’s pretty much a no brainer to work with firms on how to acquire customers and generate revenue. I mean, no, that has to happen. I mentioned that before. But at the same time, you got to be able to control your expenses, manage your inventory. I mentioned the visioning piece said every night and you have to take a break and look back at what you’ve done, in contrast to what you plan to do and see if you’re on track, see if you’re off track. And then as you talk about accessing capital, we know that capital comes with a cost. So let’s make sure that we understand the cost and how that also capital impacts our bottom line and also things that businesses need to know about. No business really operates by itself and so in our goal is to have more employers, more businesses that employ people, but we also have to make sure that we’re doing a good job and hiring and training and making sure that we convey the culture of our organization to the folks that work for us. And then of course, you know, no good program would ever be around without some sort of SWOT analysis. So, we know we will do that. And in general, we’ll be looking at businesses in the, I guess, across the board in terms of industries, childcare, organizations retail, and I guess, you know, retail could be mom and pop and maybe a little bit bigger than that construction and building trades will be would not be left out, even farming and agriculture, we’re not, we’re trying to make sure that we, in this program in this pilot program, have something for everybody, every region, every type of business, or maybe not every but most types of businesses are professional administrative services are not going to be left out. And of course, our personal services, the janitorial services, you the barber shops, cosmetology are going to be included as well. So a well rounded program, with mentors to really help identify opportunities for business growth, and focus on those key areas to make sure that not only are you selling your product or service, but you’re controlling costs, managing employees and growing a business that has the opportunities to succeed. And so I’m happy you gave me an opportunity to talk about that. It’s something that we’re very proud of that NCRC.

Calderon 46:18

Right. Well, I want to thank you both for your insights and contributions. Really appreciate your participation today and the work that you are doing out in our communities. We’re going to go ahead and keep the program moving forward. We have a lot to cover today. Coming up next is Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell. Make sure you go back to the agenda at 2:15pm. Eastern to navigate to the next session and join us for a great conversation between Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell and NCRC CEO Jesse Van Tol. Here are just a few reminders. As each session closes, you want to go back into the agenda and navigate to the next session. Most sessions are being recorded and will be accessible shortly via the agenda in case you missed something you want to catch up. And don’t forget to get social, we want to make sure that you use the hashtag just economy on social media. We’ll also be curating highlights on Twitter, so be sure to follow us there. Our handle is @ncrc. Now you have a little bit of a break, have a stretch, grab a drink, click over into the just cafe. It’s the place to hang out and meet people. meet up with someone you know or introduce yourself to someone new. Enjoy this short break and then meet us back here in about 15 minutes at 2:15pm. Eastern Standard Time with Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell. Thank you all

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