- Substantial's been telling stories since early 2012. Here's one from the archives.
As defined by the English dictionary, to be a minority is to be a part of a group that is the smaller part of a larger group. It is to be a number or amount that is less than the majority of a whole. We hear the term minority referenced in many facets of American culture from people to politics, but in most instances, to be a minority means to be fewer in number and lacking in power and influence. Yet, an alternative definition of minority is simply to be different – to have qualities and characteristics that are unlike the majority. These differences can lead to differential treatment. The experience of minorities reveals this treatment can be adverse. However, to be different – to be unique – also brings value. It can create an advantage that reaps rewards.
Minority (i.e.: ethnic minority, disadvantaged, disabled, and women) owned firms live in this paradoxical box. These businesses live in an environment where they are at once fewer yet greater, disadvantaged yet advantaged. In the marketplace, minority firms, also known by the acronym “MWBE,” are fewer in number as compared to majority firms. On average, they are smaller in size, generate lower gross receipts, and have fewer employees. Nevertheless, despite their status, these firms produced $661 billion in gross receipts and employed 4.7 million people with an annual payroll of $115 billion in 2002. In fact, the growth of these firms outpaced the growth of majority owned firms in all categories. MWBE’s continue to be the engine of employment in emerging and minority communities – a key tool to the creation of wealth and opportunity in disadvantaged communities, which leads to gains for the entire economy.*
How do they do it? Tenacity. Ingenuity. Hope. These are just a few of the ingredients that make MWBE firms some of the most resilient, robust firms in our community. Like most small business owners, they are determined to succeed. And, with the economic advantage gained from the success of MWBE firms, the City of Greenville and GUC MWBE Program strives to provide equal opportunity in government contracting to help them succeed.
In the last issue, you learned a little about the Program in my interview with Substantial Magazine. As a joint venture between the City of Greenville and Greenville Utilities, we have a vested interest in not only providing opportunity but supporting the growth and development of these firms as they support our local economy. As our Program mantra states, we are about “Putting Our Words to Work.” We are not just about talking the talk but actually walking the walk. Our latest stride is teaming up with Substantial Magazine to bring you “Who’s Who in Business powered by MWBE.” Each quarter, we will highlight MWBE partners whose successes are extraordinary examples of what it means to be of considerable value or worth – to be Substantial.
Have we piqued your interest? Great! Stay tuned for our first installment in the next issue of Substantial Magazine. Here’s to Putting Our Words to Work…
*Fairlie, Robert W. and Alicia Robb. “Disparities in Capital Access between Minority and Non-Minority Owned Businesses: The Troubling Reality of Capital Limitations Faced by MBEs.” US Department of Commerce. Minority Business Development Agency. January 2010.