Proven Model for Inclusive Economic Development | 10-Year Series


Small business owners in low- and moderate-income communities and/or from historically disadvantaged social and economic groups often lack the business knowledge and management know-how necessary for second-stage growth. Additionally, they are often excluded from the networks that comprise the larger business ecosystems, including financing and procurement. To catalyze a more inclusive and equitable small business ecosystem, Interise developed the StreetWise 'MBA'™.

According to Intersise's 10-Year Report, companies that successfully completed a StreetWise 'MBA'™ program outperformed the private sector as a whole, consistently achieving net new job growth in both boom and lean economic years. Even in the Great Recession, Interise businesses continued to create jobs.

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Small Business as a Sustainable Solution


(This blog post is the last in a series. Read the previous posts here, here, and here.)

The previous posts in this series discussed the relationship between the racial wealth gap and small business, what created the racial wealth gap, and how it has impacted small business, especially minority-owned small businesses. This week’s post brings good news: building capacity among minority-owned businesses and businesses located in low- to moderate-income communities may contribute to closing the wealth gap.

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INTERISE INSIGHT: Creating Good Jobs


Jobs and wages are major topics in the national conversation about our economy. Unemployment is down, but jobs with good wages are still hard to come by, leaving many workers scrambling to get by.

Interise’s 2016 Impact Report shows the power of small business to create good, local jobs in the communities where they’re needed most. In 2015, StreetWise ‘MBA’™ alumni created jobs at nine times the rate of the private sector. Alumni from 2012, 2013, and 2014 created 2,129 new jobs and retained 10,978. 65% of these businesses were minority-owned or located in low- or moderate-income census tracts.

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INTERISE INSIGHT: "I can't find them!"

Mental Models in the Anchor Procurement System
communication-1991851 1920 Anchor institutions such as hospitals and universities know that they can generate economic impact by sourcing goods and services from local small businesses. They also know that they can generate economic opportunity by sourcing from minority-owned small businesses and small businesses located in lower income communities. Anchors generate billions of dollars in economic activity every year. So why don’t they further leverage their economic “procurement power” to create opportunities for low-income individuals and minorities?

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 “The extent of and continuing increase in inequality in the United States greatly concerns me,” Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Chair

Business ownership is a route to wealth creation and closing the racial wealth gap. The catch: Lack of wealth inhibits entrepreneurship. Small business owners often rely on their own savings, equity in their home, and loans from family and friends to start their businesses, grow their businesses, or even to meet the needs of day-to-day cash flow. Business owners without these resources bear a distinct disadvantage.

Capacity-building programs support small businesses to develop such assets as knowledge, know-how, and networks around contracting, financing, and strategic planning. Interise research has found that, through capacity building, minority-owned small businesses and businesses located in low- to moderate-income (LMI) communities increase revenues and create jobs at rates higher than other established small businesses.

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The Jerome L. Greene Science Center is Columbia University’s newest and New York City’s largest academic science building. It was built with 32% of its construction provided by minority, women, and local (MWL) businesses. 50% of its workforce hours were provided by MWL businesses. Why does this matter? Interise data shows that small business contracting with anchor institutions, such as universities and hospitals, can enable inclusive economic development. The same is true of contracting with government agencies. The more anchor institutions and government agencies realign procurement practices to contract with small businesses, the further we leverage small business growth to create good, local jobs.

Companies with contracts not only create more jobs, they create jobs with higher salaries and more benefits compared to companies without contracts. That’s the #ContractingFactor, an important insight from Interise’s 2016 Impact Report.
Contracting Factor

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