By Allen Cooper
Birmingham, AL- In the face of COVID, minority and women-owned businesses in the United States have disproportionately declined by over 41%, presenting a major challenge to business development. (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2020)
Economic relief was issued in the form of 650,000 small business loans, but minority businesses only received 143 loans. (University of Alabama, 2021)
IGNITE!, a Birmingham-based non-profit agency providing support for minority and women-owned businesses across the Southeast, announces a new partnership for its innovative Counting Us! initiative. Joining the organization in the Alabama Enterprise Development Consortium are Alabama Power, the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business, Stillman College and Babson College, a top-ranked business school based in Wellesley, Mass.
Counting Us! is an ongoing project designed to create a comprehensive database of minority business owners, entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders across Alabama. The idea behind this unprecedented count is to help identify those in this underserved sector to provide them with capital, contracts, business and operational technical assistance, public and private grants, and additional resources supporting the launch, growth, and sustainability of a business/entity.
Torin Brazzle, IGNITE Alabama Executive Director states, “With all of the economic disruption we’ve seen over the past year, particularly when it comes to businesses owned by people of color, it is more important NOW than ever to make sure that minority business owners, entrepreneurs, and nonprofit leaders are counted to ensure they get the HELP they deserve!”
The next phase of the Counting Us! initiative takes place June 5-20.
For more information on Counting Us!, visit IGNITEAL.org/Counting-Us.
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