America’s SBDC Blog

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What do we mean by “Underserved Communities”?

April 26, 2022
By: Tyler Demars.
 
While entrepreneurs can come from any demographic, life experience, or situational background, there are trends and common challenges related to identified population groups or communities that limit access to small business ownership. Folks from these communities are both underrepresented in entrepreneurship ranks in our state and underserved by the benefits of entrepreneurship which include wealth creation, job creation, community development, and increased community sovereignty. Wealth creation is the primary benefit of entrepreneurship for a community, other benefits flow primarily from this wealth creation. According to a report from our US Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, business owners “represent roughly 10 percent of the workforce, but hold nearly 40 percent of the total U.S. wealth.” When we talk about underserved communities, we are talking about communities underserved by the benefits of entrepreneurship.
 

 
In North Dakota, Native Americans are our most significantly underserved community. New Americans, female entrepreneurs, and rural entrepreneurs face similar challenges related to being underserved. Find out what are some of the challenges faced by underserved communities. Click To Tweet
Common barriers to underserved entrepreneurs include:

Access to Capital

Businesses need capital to fuel growth. Poverty, lack of education, and low job experience in underserved communities affect an entrepreneur’s ability to use savings or other assets to self-finance, access private capital, and/or qualify for commercial or publicly backed loans  (such  as  SBA loans). Additionally, folks from underserved communities experience limited access to family or network-based investment.

Access to Professional Networking and Mentorship

According to research from the Kauffman Foundation, people who know entrepreneurs are more likely to become entrepreneurs. The value of professional networking and   mentorship is evident by the impact and momentum behind entrepreneurial ecosystem development happening in communities across the US. Entrepreneurial ecosystems are location-based networks of support systems for new and growing companies. Ecosystems are made up of entrepreneurs, resource support partners such as the ND SBDC and Chambers of Commerce, a talented workforce, and a healthy, inclusive culture that encourages access to the ecosystem. Underserved communities face unique challenges in connecting with their local ecosystems.

Systemic Discrimination & Oppression

Specific to Native Americans and New Americans, centuries of experienced discrimination and oppression have created doubts in the minds of Native American or New American entrepreneurs that they can succeed as business owners. We have made progress in facing our history and acknowledging the current state of cultural treatment of Native Americans, but still have work to do here.
 
 
It is the mission of Specialty Services at the ND SBDC to support underserved communities in improving access to entrepreneurship, leveraging their opportunities, and overcoming the unique challenges they face. Our Native American and New American clients bring innovative ideas, display a strong work ethic, and show up with a community-minded approach to business development. We are grateful and honored to be a partner in helping our neighbors from underserved communities in navigating the entrepreneurial journey. We believe all communities should be served by the benefits of entrepreneurship.
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About the Author: Tyler Demars, Specialty Services Director, North Dakota SBDC Network

Irie’s Island Food!

July 13, 2021
Success Story: Del Mar College SBDC –

Irie's Island FoodNicole Horton and Martin Frannea, owners of Irie’s Island Food in Port Aransas, Texas, were getting ready to expand their business to a larger location as part of a 3-year recovery plan following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Then COVID-19 happened.

Prioritizing employee and customer safety, Irie’s Island Food closed its doors for nearly three months, even after limited service was permitted in Texas. When they did reopen, they experienced an overwhelming surge of vacationing customers. To keep everyone safe, they again closed the interior restaurant and offered outside and curbside service only, until they could safely re-open. Through the rest of 2020, and with much commitment and sacrifice, Nicole and Martin continued to focus on the safety of their employees and customers and keeping the business going. In January, 2021, they were able to relocate to their new, larger location, and double their workforce. (more…)

America’s SBDCs Publish Annual Report after a Challenging Year

February 8, 2021

Annual ReportServing more than half a million small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in Fiscal Year 2020, America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) rose to the occasion during a time of unprecedented challenges.

From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, America’s SBDCs were on the job. Providing free, one-to-one business consulting and free or at-cost business training, SBDC consultants, trainers and staff helped America’s small businesses — and the communities they serve — adapt and survive.

As one SBDC client described it, “I was trying to keep it together but panicking! Then a friend recommended I talk with the Alabama SBDC. I talked to my advisor an hour and a half the first time I called her. She was also a small business owner and knew what a state of mind I was in. She has ended up advising me on every step and has even kept me ahead of the game, giving me information as she learns it.” — small business owner and chef Yanni Tempelis, who worked with her local SBDC to secure PPP funds and help save her business. The America’s SBDC Annual Report showcases the work of the 62 state and regional SBDCs that form America’s nationwide network of SBDCs. Click To Tweet

From helping small businesses address the Covid-19 crisis to serving America’s veterans, women-owned businesses, underserved communities and young entrepreneurs, to promoting technology development, exports and rural development, America’s SBDCs show why they are America’s largest and most trusted network of small business assistance providers. (more…)

Two Sisters Boutique: People and Community Matter

August 25, 2020
Success Story: Wisconsin

Two Sisters Boutique

Darcy Musil incorporated her background as a manicurist, esthetician and bra fitting specialist into Two Sisters Boutique, her unique retail business designed for women of all shapes and sizes. Her store provides a custom “one-on-one styling” service to shoppers who prefer suggestions and guidance.

Many customers come to the boutique for help obtaining the perfect look for photo shoots such as family portraits and senior pictures. Darcy also offers makeup consultations to provide expert knowledge on skin tone and color match. The retail location in Rice Lake opened in May, 2017 with four employees, and the business has grown to employ seven.

SUCCESS DURING COVID-19

The store is more than just a clothing boutique. It supports local vendors in many ways. Jewelry, soap, lotions, candles and other accessories and gifts created by local artisans are sold in Darcy’s store. When COVID-19 hit, Darcy had to close the storefront location but was able to sustain online sales. (more…)