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Minority-Owned Businesses Need Additional Resources To Navigate New Challenges

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

"Small, minority-owned businesses need additional support to navigate new challenges ahead." -Terrand Smith

After all the ups and downs 37 Oaks has helped minority-owned, product-based businesses navigate over the past few years, we hate to have the type of conversations we are having now. 37 Oaks helps small, women + minority-owned businesses diversify & scale through e-commerce, storefronts, wholesale and pop ups. Between our 37 Oaks University courses, 1:1 coaching sessions; responses to educational content; event feedback (and more), my finger is all over the pulse of their current sentiments.

Part of our role is to educate & prepare these product "Makers" for diverse growth and sustainability, the other part is to motivate and encourage them through the process. It’s been a tough ride and we were hoping to get a little breathing room soon. Although a common characteristic in the minority-owned entrepreneurs we work with is resilience, they are exhausted. Why?

Let's review...over the past few years:

  • Limitations in selling and connecting with customers through physical spaces has impacted sales & profits.

  • Supply chain issues limited material availability and increased material costs.

  • Labor costs increased, in addition limited workforce options.

  • Marketing & advertising costs have increased.

  • Costs in technology, software, apps and other operational systems have increased.

In the very near future, they will also need to tack on…

  • Rising prices due to inflation.

  • Increase in gas prices due to the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

  • Customer’s disposable income is reduced due to these changes.

Since many of these issues were cost related, I recently published a blog called "5 Tips To Help Small Businesses Tackle Rising Production & Operation Costs" . Although this is a great resource, it only scratches the surface. Bumps, bruises, pivots and challenges are expected in entrepreneurship. But, just like these small business owners did not make it through the pandemic on their own, they will need additional support as they face new challenges.

37 Oaks will continue to work with our public + private partners to deliver and expand our education, application, programming and 1:1 coaching solutions to more minority-owned businesses across the country. In addition to what we offer, here are additional needs we know have to be addressed:

  • Operational funds (of course!)

  • Subsidized work & sales spaces

  • Supply chain options, connections & negotiation support

  • Product design & value engineering resources

  • Marketing funds

  • Sales/business development resources & support

  • Labor + workforce development sources

The impact of our minority-owned businesses on their community has been and continues to be massive. Creating jobs; occupying vacant storefronts; generating tax dollars; driving traffic to communities; supporting overall quality of life; supporting residents, businesses and visitors; etc. In some cases, these businesses may be the only option a community has. Lots of great learnings and strides have come from their resilience and we cannot let that progress be in vain. I look forward to being involved in holistic solutions that support and sustain them through this next phase.

Terrand Smith, Founder/CEO, 37 Oaks



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