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Black chamber offers State of Black Business update

MIKE McGEE | 9/4/2017, 8:44 a.m.
Held under the banner concept of “The Right Time. The Right People. The Right Conversations, The Right Results,” the State ...
Ahmad Goree, lead economic specialist at the U.S. Small Business Administration. U.S. Small Business Administration

The Dallas Examiner

Held under the banner concept of “The Right Time. The Right People. The Right Conversations, The Right Results,” the State of Black Business forum was a revealing gathering intended to inform members of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce and community leaders of the climate, condition and trends in African American business. The chamber hosted the event at Cityplace, Aug. 22.

Simplified, the goal of the forum was to create a positive financial impact within local communities.

In that spirit, there were several workshops on funding, management and franchise ownership, as well as a multitude of other topics. Ahmad Goree, lead economic specialist at the U.S. Small Business Administration, helped guide attendees through the purpose and practices of government loans to local companies. His workshop, Federal Resources Available to Start And Grow Your Small Business, discussed aid that is available to business owners, which may be overlooked.

“Why would we want to give you money to start or grow your business?” the presenter posed rhetorically. “When we give you that loan to grow or start your business, you create jobs. Two out of three small business create two out of three next new jobs every year.”

The agency assists in this task employing what Goree described as the “three Cs” of the approach.

“First is our capital program. These are loans that we generate to small business owners, or prospective small business owners, to get them on their feet, get them to take their business to the next level,” he stated. Rather than loan out the money itself, the SBA guarantees loans from local banks.

The entire process is free since the agency is a tax-supported part of the government, the specialist pointed out. Banks are eager to participate, as the loans are guaranteed by the agency; they will get their money back even in the event of a business failing, as opposed to the risk of lending directly to a private individual whose business becomes unsuccessful.

Micro-loans for up to $50,000 and major loans topping out at $5 million are available for such growth.

“Micro-lenders are really lending to the African American community” Goree noted, expressing that payments to businesses have gone up 40 percent compared to this time last year.

The counseling portion of the SBA program aids those who have a concept for a business but do not know how to turn the idea into a descriptive business plan or functioning company.

“We have resources that help guide you, and help get your business plan and licensing,” the specialist expressed. “Or you may have a business already in existence and you want to enhance that business; you want to take it to the next level, but you don’t have the revenue to pay for an expensive consultant. We offer that consulting service for free.”

Contracting was the third “C” Goree spoke about; the SBA will assist product and service entities to become government-certified contractors.

The SBA representative noted that there was a vetting process in place for receiving a loan but asserted that credit was not one of the factors in the decision-making process. Loans at $150,000 or less are 85 percent funded by the SBA while the business owner puts up the rest of the needed money; larger loans are funded at 75 percent.