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Minority business.

As we approach the beginning of the 21st century, we can see modest growth in minority businesses in Arkansas. Studies, however, continue to indicate the growing disparity between the average family income of African American and white families. At the present rate, parity will not be reached until the year 2151. While full employment objectives are crucial to reducing disparity, entrepreneurship may have a greater long-term impact.

Traditionally minority business enterprises have been concentrated in the service sector. Today we are seeing more non-traditional businesses being formed by members of minority groups that are more sophisticated and technically oriented. They are being started by young, well-educated men and women who often have years of prior corporate experience.

These businesses are challenged, as are all new ventures, but their chances for survival are greater given the backgrounds of these "new era" minority business professionals. Most bring to the table more than merely an idea, but well researched business plans, some capital of their own, and significant knowledge of the ventures they are pursuing.

Access to adequate capital continues to be a significant challenge for these new era minority businesses. However, with the assistance of financial institutions, and public and private agencies, these businesses are making it. The Business Consortium Fund, offered through First Commercial Bank and the variety of programs offered through the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission, the Small Business Administration, Arkansas Capital Corp. and Southern Ventures Inc., are a few avenues available to provide the capital that serves as the life blood of any business.

Increasingly minority businesses are looking to the broader community, the nation and the world as their markets. The Chamber of Commerce, the Arkansas Regional Supplier Development Council, the AIDC and Minority Business Development are among the agencies working with minority businesses to develop and expand markets.

In the long run it is in the interest of all to assist minority businesses as they seek to find economic equilibrium. As these businesses prosper, they create jobs, contribute to the tax base and enhance the economic growth of the entire state of Arkansas.
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Title Annotation:Arkansas
Author:Stewart, Charles
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Aug 16, 1993
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