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Op-Ed: Iowa among the worst for minority business owners Special

By Ini Augustine     Jul 15, 2014 in Business
Des Moines - According to both the SBA and Bloomberg, Iowa is among the worst states for MBE's (Minority Business Enterprises). Can business owners turn the tide?
With only 1 in 43, Iowa has the lowest rate of minority-owned businesses in the nation. Although the minority population in Iowa is small, the rate of success for minority owned business has been a source of embarrassment for local officials.
In fact, Forbes magazine named Des Moines, Iowa as the # 1 place for business in 2013. Iowa has become famous as an economic powerhouse, with even Chinese President Xi Jinping looking to forge ties in the state. Yet Iowa also holds the dubious honor of being the worst place for both woman and minority owned business.
Minority Businesses haven t found the same success in Iowa.
Minority Businesses haven't found the same success in Iowa.
Despite challenges in obtaining needed credit, training, and mentorship, Iowa Black Owned businesses are hopeful for the future. Some entrepreneurs have even found Iowa to be beneficial for their businesses. Says Perkins Herron, Co-Founder of Sushi Kicchin in Iowa City, “Being in Iowa, it’s a level playing field ..there’s only a certain amount of trucks that are coming to Iowa on certain days. So it’s not like being in Chicago where you’ve got all these different vendors to pull from."
Ramon Christopher, owner of Isupply Marketing agrees. “I’m from here, I take ownership for this place. I would like to help Iowa improve these numbers. The issues I have with my business are not because I’m black. They are concerns about expanding market share, obtaining credit, and contributing to my community.”
Iowa's largest minority business development program, the Targeted Small Business(TSB) program hasn't been actively promoted since 2012. It is notable that since the inception of the TSB program, there have been zero additional dollars budgeted for it . Although the state of Iowa received $132 million from the US Department of the Treasury for small business lending in 2011, none of those funds were allocated towards the TSB program.
Young Professionals of color are the fastest growing demographic.
Young Professionals of color are the fastest growing demographic.
According to Nielsen, by 2015, African-Americans will have over $1 trillion of buying power. Without significant and immediate changes, Iowa runs the risk of overlooking an important source of economic development.
With an aim towards supporting black owned businesses, community leaders have developed the Iowa Black business Summit . This year, the summit will host Iowa’s only business pitch competition aimed at black-owned companies. This 2-day event will allow entrepreneurs, startups, investors, and business professionals to learn and network with Iowa’s best companies. Over 200 participants from across the nation are expected to attend. The event will overlap with popular Iowa Soul Festival , and occur on September 21-22 ,2014.
For more information about The Iowa Black Business Summit, visit [url=]
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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