GREENSBORO, N.C. — When small businesses succeed, communities succeed. Right now, Black-owned businesses are closing at two times the rate of others. That's why the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce is partnering with a national program to help give them, and other minority-owned shops a boost.
"Greensboro is the number one area in the country for minority entrepreneurs to really grow and to design their business," said Darrell Byers, the CEO of Interise.
Interise is a national organization that supports business owners.
"Let's face it, it's very hard for anyone to start a business. It's especially hard for minority-owned businesses to grow, especially during COVID when minority businesses have closed at twice the rate," Byers said.
Right now, 30 business owners are going through Interise programs. Richard Fuqua is one of them. He owns an Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services franchise.
"It has given me an opportunity to look at my business from 50,000 feet. To look at the business, not just the actual cleaning aspect of the business, but looking at financials, looking at how we market, looking at my operations and just looking at all aspects of the business," Fuqua said. "In my cohort, I've grown to appreciate the other businesses that are participating and actually learn a lot from them."
Byers said businesses, like Fuqua's, grow 36% after the course, four times faster than the private sector. The programs help small business owners and our local economy.
"It's important to remember that minority businesses are an important part of any community. And what we want to do is help minority businesses grow and by helping minority businesses grow they hire from the community," Byers said. "That means homebuying in the community, education in the community, what have you, so it's very important."
To join Interise programs you must have a small business that's been open for at least two years, make $250,000 in annual revenue and have two employees.