Minority Entrepreneurs

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COLUMBIA — In the 2017 State of Entrepreneurship Address, the Kauffman Foundation announced a national increase in minority small businesses.

The address also found the majority of entrepreneurship growth is happening in mid-sized metros rather than traditional urban hubs.

In Mid-Missouri, the Columbia Chamber of Commerce has seen a similar trend with local increases in minority and female entrepreneurship.

“We’re seeing a diversity of people,” said chamber president Matt McCormick. “A diversity of people and a diversity of racial makeup and of men and women.”

Despite these increases, the nation is still seeing a disproportionate number of white males leading the way in entrepreneurship. According the address, 80.2 percent of entrepreneurs in America are white and 64.5 percent are male.

Columbia has a variety of programs to help new local business owners be successful including the Columbia Small Business Development Center and the Missouri Innovation Center.

Columbia also keeps track of all minority and women owned businesses in a directory on the city’s website and has a “Mid-Missouri Road Map for Entrepreneurs” available for free through the chamber of commerce’s website.

Brandi Harris, a cosmetologist who opened B. Fab Hair Studio and Cosmetology in December, says she’s faced many challenges as a small business owner and could benefit from these programs.

“Getting more people in and getting known, I think that’s been my biggest challenge,” Harris said.

McCormick said while the chamber’s programs are great, many local businesses do not take full advantage of them. He added educating owners in Columbia is one of the chambers goals moving forward.

McCormick said he expects entrepreneurship to continue to rise in Columbia, both with minorities and overall, and he hopes to work with them to create more local jobs and business.