(Part III of a TSD series exploring the behind-the-scenes work of building the city's minority- and women-owned business enterprise sector.)
The City of Memphis Office of Contract Compliance stands like a watchtower over the process designed to improve the city's spending effort with minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs).
Compliance Officer Mary Bright served as guide as The New Tri-State Defender pursued a broader understanding of the office's intricacy and the workload.
According to the data found in a new report, The Buying Power of Black America, now may be the most opportune time ever for businesses to develop a strategy for increasing their share of the African-American market.
With the nation slowly recovering from recession, African-American consumers represent the margin of profitability in most consumer product categories.
"What the recession did to Black America's buying habits is to give them a reason to re-evaluate how they spent the billions of dollars they earned collectively," said Ken Smikle, president of Target Market News and editor of the report.
ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: Hattiloo Theatre's founder and owner, Ekundayo Bandele, views art as medium to express history and a community's present conditions. Theatre, he says, must be "supported, maintained and enjoyed." Spreading that message is part of his business.
Carlee McCullough: How important do you believe the arts are to a community and especially live theatre?
Ekundayo Bandele: You know I think it is just as important as food and air. Well, maybe not as important as air. The things that separate animals and humans are cultures. Cultures are the defining markers that identify people from another people. We have this T-shirt at Hattiloo that says, "Got Culture." I pose that question to our community at-large because we often think that we have culture because we may read a book or belong to a book club or we may go and even see the new upcoming movie.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Why have middle-income African Americans and Hispanics seen little, if any, improvement in their economic status relative to whites?
New research from the Urban Institute's Opportunity and Ownership Project points to an ever-widening wealth chasm.
In 2010, white families averaged six times the wealth of African-American and Hispanic households ($632,000 versus $98,000 and $110,000, respectively), up from a 5-to-1 ratio in 1983. Wealth is total assets, such as bank and retirement accounts and home value, minus debts, including mortgages, student loans, and credit-card balances.
(The New Tri State Defender is exploring the behind-the-scenes work in building more minority- and women-owned businesses. This is installment two.)
The revolution would be televised if the City of Memphis lost much-needed funds because its Division of Finance used vendors that were not up to snuff – minority- and women-owned businesses or not.
Avoiding potential mistakes in the process of finding qualified MWBEs is part of the job assigned to the city's Office of Contract Compliance. That work is being carried out amid periodic expressions of sheer dissatisfaction, such as voiced at the Minority Business Development Oversight Committee (MDOC) last week (April 17). In that instance the rub was unhappiness about the level of MWBEs the Division of Finance uses to assist in managing the city's $2 billion pension fund.
Bank On Memphis' celebration of National Financial Literacy Month culminates Friday (April 26) with a series of financial literacy workshops at Court Square downtown.
Several Bank On Memphis partner financial institutions and credit counseling services will discuss savings and checking account options, as well as tips for credit repair.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling recently released the results of its annual Consumer Financial Literacy Survey noting that only 40 percent of adults have a budget and track spending. Research from credit data management firm TransUnion Interactive Inc. shows that the Memphis metro area had the lowest consumer credit score among major metropolitan areas.
Ron Busby, president of the U.S. Black Chamber, Inc., will be the keynote speaker at the 2013 Annual Benny Awards Lucheon sponsored by the Black Business Association of Memphis (BBA).
BENNY is an acronym for Black Entrepreneurship and Networking Need You. The BENNY Awards recognize "superior achievement in business by minority- and women-owned businesses and by supportive corporations."
The luncheon event will be held on June 21st at the Memphis Marriott, 2625 Thousand Oaks Blvd., from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.