News Ticker

Leaders Affirm Data on Vibrant Growth of Minority Businesses and Ask – Is Minnesota Listening?

Chai News was there…

MBE Forum2

Leaders Presenting at Forum

Top minority business leaders, owners and practitioners as well as representatives from the Governor Dayton’s policy team and city leaders from Minneapolis and Saint Paul met at the campus of Concordia University on Friday, September 18 to hear presentations from two economists on the latest data on minority business growth in Minnesota (see links to report below).

Dr. Bruce Corrie, economist at Concordia University St. Paul and Dr. Samuel Myers, economist at the Humphrey School presented data and analysis on the growth of minority businesses in Minnesota based on the preliminary estimates from the Survey of Business Owners, 2012 (SBO).

The SBO is conducted every 5 years and is the premier source for information on minority businesses nationally and locally. It is based on a sample of almost 2 million households nationally.

“The data on minority businesses in Minnesota reveals vibrant growth,” said Dr. Bruce Corrie. “One of the insights from the data is the tremendous role these firms play as job creators. As a group minority businesses in 2012 employed more people than Minnesota’s largest employer today, the Mayo Clinic.

“These findings from the latest Survey of Business Owners confirm previously released findings from the American Community Survey demonstrating the significant growth in Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (MBE) in Minnesota and the Twin Cities”,” said Dr. Samuel Myers. “In virtually every industry category, MBEs registered growth even when there were overall declines in the state.”

“The evidence presented by Dr. Corrie from the Survey of Business Owners showing growth in minority businesses is very real. I have corroborated these growth rates from multiple sources such as the American Community Survey, Dunn and Bradsheet data and the DBE lists from the state of Minnesota,” said Dr. Myers.


Dalton Outlaw, Element Boxing and Fitness, LLC

Dalton Outlaw, Elements Boxing and Fitness, LLC

Young entrepreneur Dalton Outlaw, Element Boxing and Fitness, LLC shared his experience operating a business in the heart of Saint Paul and reflected the vibrant state of minority entrepreneurship. “My business has grown 500 percent. I want to expand and establish a multi-sport complex in the area in the near future,” he said.

Creating an Economic Space for Vibrant Minority Entrepreneurship in Minnesota

Key Comments by Leaders and Practitioners (video coming shortly)

“While minority firms are well-placed in growing sectors of the economy we think very significant strategic advances can be made by positioning minority firms for leadership in sectors that will rapidly expand soon – such as the renewable energy and green jobs economy, “ said Sam Grant, Executive Director, Everybody In.

We are our own greatest agents of change. We must remove barriers and create visibility and continuously shine a spotlight on the economic value, job creation, and importance of minority owned business in Minnesota,” said Pamela Standing, Executive Director, Minnesota Indian Business Alliance. “These are not revolutionary ideas. They are evolutionary ideas which embrace their place in the Minnesota economic landscape so they continue to have the opportunity to realize their full potential.”

Little Mekong, Little Africa and Rondo Cultural District show how cultural assets can be a key economic development strategy in low income neighborhoods,” said Nieeta Presley, Executive Director, Aurora Saint Anthony Development Corporation. “Minority businesses are diamonds in the rough that will sparkle given the right conditions.”

Our experience shows that our member businesses are playing a significant role in the Minnesotan economy and have at least a $2.5 billion impact on the local economy,” said Duane Ramseur, President of the North Central Minority Supplier Development Council.

“100 percent of our clients were unbankable and benefited from our loan and technical assistance programs. They have a 95 percent loan repayment rate,” said Teshite Wako, CFO, Neighborhood Development Center and board chair of the Oromo Chamber of Commerce.

We can close the wealth gap through growing our minority entrepreneurs,” said Noel Nix, aide to Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter.

Through our work we have broken down barriers to success for our entrepreneurs and opened out new avenues such as the Little Mekong Business and Cultural District,” said Joo-hee Plompun, Business Director of Policy and Advocacy, Asian Economic Development Association.

“One thing we find consistently is that as minority businesses grow they hire from the community bringing jobs and wealth to minority communities. I support minority entrepreneurs because they are our economic future,” said Jan Jordet, Senior Director, Metropolitan Economic Development Association.

“The study we partnered with Concordia University and funded by the McKnight Foundation showed that our business owners wanted help with marketing and growth. We also have to work hard to build the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said Gene Gelgelu, Executive Director, African Economic Development Solutions.

“Diversity is essential to growth and prosperity,” Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey and Vice Chair of the Governor’s Diversity and Inclusion Council said. “We appreciate the role of community leaders engaging in forums that highlight the successes, opportunities and challenges for these innovative entrepreneurs as they are critically important to the long-term success of Minnesota.”

The Dayton Administration strong support for minority business development is reflected in the newly created Office of Equity and Procurement.   In early 2015, we established the Contracting Practices Committee which serves as the steering committee for the Office.  It is made up of industry leaders, business owners, agency heads and various community stakeholders. This Committee shares input, feedback and drives partial accountability for the state’s progress in contracting practices,”  said Assistant Commissioner Alice Roberts-Davis, Department of Administration.

“We are finding new areas of growth in business development especially in agriculture. We have helped many Latino farmers purchase farms in rural Minnesota. Farmers in rural areas welcome the opportunity to transfer ownership of their farms to a fellow-farmer rather than a huge corporation,” said Mario Hernandez, Vice President, Latino Economic Development Corporation.

We need to remember that all the evidence point to the need to build capacity of organizations serving minority businesses. Our recent conference provided evidence from experts that the existing capacity is not enough to help minority businesses grow and expand,” said Keith Baker, Board member, Everybody In

I look forward to exploring details about what specific mechanisms and actions can help minority businesses grow and expand and the appropriate interventions at each stage,” said Professor Phil Hampton, Chair of the Finance Program, Concordia University.

Entrepreneurship support is a very important strategy to build wealth in immigrant and refugee communities,” said Bo Thao, Executive Director of the Coalition of Asian American Leaders.

“We welcome the opportunity to serve minority entrepreneurs and see their potential in Minnesota,” said Bruce Strong, State Director, Small Business Development Centers.

“Cultural Intelligence is needed in serving minority entrepreneurs. Organizations such as the African Development Center and African Economic Development Solutions are needed to serve entrepreneurs who find difficulty accessing mainstream resources. It is time to move from studies and reports to concrete actions,” said Nasebu Sareva, Executive Director, African Development Center.

The city of Minneapolis has a very strong commitment to serve minority businesses. We have put a number of pieces in place and continue to make progress,” said Daniel Bonilla, Senior Project Coordinator, CPED, Minneapolis.

We see the potential in the immigrant communities and have launched many successful programs including our new transportation project, ” said Kazoua Kong Thao, Chief Deputy Director, Hmong American Partnership. “We are working to close the gap between the needs of  the economy and our community’s assets.”

“The data affirms what we see happening in our communities,” said Michael Fondungallah, Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce. “We need to continue to support the growth of these businesses through strategies such “Little Africa” and greater utilization of these businesses in public projects.”

“We have noticed a significant growth in spends as it relates to MBEs for the City of Saint Paul.  In 2008, $4.8 million dollars went to local small businesses for the City of Saint Paul; of which $1.1 million dollars, or .86% went to local MBEs.  In 2014, over $180 million went to local small businesses; of which $23.4 million dollars, or 5.35%, went to local MBEs.   We have also seen a growth in the number of MBEs certified in CERT,” said Tisdira Jones, City of Saint Paul.

MBE 2015 Latest Data Report on the Latest Data on MBE in Minnesota

MBE 2015 Data Flyer  On page infographic


Key Highlights:

In 2012 there were 47,565 minority businesses with $8.7 billion in sales, employing over 63,000 people with an annual payroll of $1.7 billion.

Minority business created more jobs than the largest employer in Minnesota – the Mayo Clinic (39,000 jobs, estimate of DEED).

The Number of minority businesses grew faster than non-minority businesses

While the number of minority businesses grew by 53 percent during the period 2007-12, the number of non-minority businesses declined by 3 percent.

Minority business job growth increased at a higher rate than non-minority businesses

While minority businesses achieved a 68 percent growth in jobs during the period 2007-12, non-minority business jobs grew by only 10 percent.

The Number of minority Female owned businesses grew faster than female owned businesses

While the number of minority female businesses grew by 78 percent during the period 2007-12, the number of non-minority businesses grew by 19 percent.

The Number of minority Veteran owned businesses grew faster than Veteran owned businesses

While the number of minority veteran businesses grew by 130 percent during the period 2007-12, the number of veteran businesses grew by 6 percent.

The fastest growing industries for minority firms were mining, utilities, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, management and other services.

The number of minority owned firms in five out of 18 industries more than doubled between 2007 and 2012.



African Development Center

African Economic Development Solutions

Asian Economic Development Association

Aurora Saint Anthony Development Corp

City of Minneapolis-CPED

Concordia University – College of Business and Technology

Everybody In

Hmong American Partnership

Latino Economic Development Center

Metropolitan Economic Development Association

Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce

Minneapolis Consortium of Community Developers

Minnesota Indian Business Alliance

Neighborhood Development Center

Nexus Community Partners

North Central Minority Supplier Development Council

Ramsey County, Office of Commissioner Toni Carter

City of Saint Paul – HREE0 Minnesota

State of Minnesota – Department of Human Rights, Administration

Wilkins Center, Humphrey School, University of Minnesota