Petition for Investment in African American Micro Home-Based Businesses

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For Immediate Release:            ODOS Synergy Services                                                                                            408-634-2664                                                                             

                        ODOS Synergy Services Invites Your Support:

                                           Petition for Investment in

                        African American Micro Home-Based Businesses

                       

Silicon Valley, California- October 17, 2020- Amid the pandemic and the need to improve funding capital conditions for essential workers and businesses, we applaud Governor Gavin Newsom for signing into law three new bills impacting minority small businesses, however, there is still a need to earmark funds specifically targeting African American female entrepreneurs in the state of California.

2020 has been under siege with the onset of COVID-19, global economic reset, and the United States government restructuring, corporate lay-offs, and unemployment. ODOS Synergy Services Women of Color Entrepreneur Global Network, ODOS Synergy Services Women of Color Entrepreneur Global Network, a 501c3 non-profit organization, is asking businesses, CBOs, non-profits advocacy groups, community, and state-wide economic development programs to provide 1,000 signatures in solidarity, to start the conversation on eliminating financial inequities and barriers for underserved African American female-owned home-based businesses. Many businesses at 50K or below have been excluded from access to financial resources and capital. We ask the State of California Economic Development office and the State Legislature to begin advocating for this underrepresented segment of the population.

Underserved women of color have often left discriminatory and hostile corporate environments to reimagine, create, and promote a holistic, supportive path to financial success. Start-ups are incubators of innovation and creativity. Entrepreneurship is the cornerstone of America’s economic foundation. Yet, for women of color, (one the fastest growing demographics of small business owners), entrepreneurship has been made more difficult, due to unequal access to funding, advocacy, support, and a strong financial network. COVID-19 has only augmented these pre-existing inequalities, which have adversely affected the small businesses grossing $250K and above but have devastated small businesses earning $50K and below. This under-represented majority has been overlooked, and the lack of support has kept these businesses from scaling up, compared to other groups.

Marginalized Communities and Black Women

With the impact of COVID-19, many underrepresented African American female entrepreneurs have lost revenue streams and are ineligible for unemployment insurance. There is the potential loss of housing, along with loss of livelihood. These businesswomen have limited access to health insurance resources, and this adversely impacts their health.

Economic Empowerment and Inclusion Activity

Senator Cory Booker’s introduction of the $50 Billion Relief for Main Street Act, (co-sponsored with Republican senator Steve Daines and Democratic senator Patty Murray) earlier this year, emphasized the importance of addressing the crisis that many Black-owned and minority businesses have faced, suffering greatly, with many having to permanently close their doors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the economic impact, it’s been reported that nearly 40% of businesses will not be able to survive the public health crisis. This new bipartisan proposal that would provide $50 billion in federal aid to minority businesses in cities and rural common an effort to create a blueprint for unities with the support of local mayors all over the country.

Richelieu Dennis, CEO of Essence and co-founder of Sundial Brands, launched a $100 million fund for a national incubator program for women and entrepreneurs of color. The New Voices Fund incubator, based at the Madam C.J. Walker Estate in New York, is committed to promoting entrepreneurship business endeavors of Black Women.

Ice Cube and Contract with Black America

In August 2020, legendary rapper and Hollywood actor and producer O’Shea Jackson, better known as Ice Cube, created the “Contract with Black America” for presidential campaign candidates. The contract outlines a blueprint and calls for action to level the playing field based on the inequities and disparities experienced by African Americans and minority communities in this country.

Mission and Goals

In the state of California, the African American female entrepreneurs earning less than $ 50K annually, lack banking relationships, lack access to CPAs and accountants, and face credit limitations. Microloans, PPP funding, and traditional financial institution funding models have failed these micro-business owners. We are asking for the following resources to be made available to this population to assist in the sustainability of their businesses in midst of this pandemic and the related economic impact, including the conversion of the restructured digital global economy.

Decentralized funding resources to help scale businesses in the form of Grants, with mentoring and without restrictions. We are requesting $50 Million in state funding in grants allocated to underrepresented African American female entrepreneurs whose businesses earn $50K or less.

Incubator Programs should be created or identified with incubator training, educational programs, and online courses for underrepresented female-owned businesses with annual revenue of $50K or below.

Business Mentorship Entrepreneur Programs should be created as part of a pool of FREE resources for underserved female entrepreneurs. The CARL program in the state of Pennsylvania provides 15 hours of technical assistance through SBA to entrepreneurs receiving loans and grants.

Bitcoin Cryptocurrency explores the options of using bitcoin to create financial capital for African American micro-businesses owners earning under $50K to generate sustainable capital for their businesses, in the form of grants and low-interest loans. It is projected that entrepreneurs will be able to borrow against their cryptocurrency wallets to support businesses or take loans. Coinbase allows customers to borrow against their cryptocurrency.

https://blog.coinbase.com/borrow-cash-using-bitcoin-on-coinbase-4fa9bbbc9100

Provide Small Business Opportunities to Women-Owned Small Businesses:  Change the practice of consolidating a lot of government contracts to a handful of large primes and make it possible for small businesses to apply directly. Additionally, large primes are also outsourcing a lot of work to other countries, with taxpayer dollars. These dollars should be brought back and distributed among small businesses that are already paying taxes.

SBA LOANS Equitable Access   

Equitable access to a percentage of SBA loans earmarked for African American female-owned businesses. 

Large corporations are granted zero-interest loans, to level the playing field for AA female entrepreneurs excluded from PPP; we recommend the creation of the following funding process:

• Zero-interest loans for 1-2 years for AA female entrepreneurs include technical assistance throughout the loan ensuring sustainability.

• Eligibility for additional loans with the success of initial loans over 2-5 years. The loans could also be administered through assignments or certified through small business Incubator Pilot Programs throughout the state of CA, like ODOS and other designated economic development advocacy programs for African American female entrepreneurs.

Add More Small Business Advocates in Procurement:                               

More advocates need to be added in procurement to help restructure government contracts to create, support, and mentor small businesses to position them to obtain government contracts.

Allow SBA or other Government Entities to Jumpstart Funding for Awarded Contracts:                                                                                       

Establish a non-profit organization that can help small businesses with the upfront cost once a contract is won. Most government agencies don’t pay on time and require a lot of the upfront cost to be provided to begin a contract. The money that is needed could be funded by a non-profit group funded by the gov as a “jumpstart'' project that is inevitably going to get repaid by the contract that is awarded. There could be a small commission charged for the service that could keep the program going.

Grant Provisional Approval for Small Businesses that want to work in HubZones:                                                                                                         

There is a requirement to get HubZone certification that 35% of the employees live and work in a HUBZone. This is a catch-22 situation. If a business is headquartered in a HUBZone, allow for a “provisional” certification for two to three years to allow the small business to get started. After the third year, have a requirement to have 35% and to get a regular HUBZone certification. This is a win-win for everyone. 

Opportunity Zone                                                                                         

Provide tech support and equitable access to local community Opportunity Zone Access for African American female entrepreneurs and government contracts. 

Welcome us to the table. In the past, we have been asked to the table but have not been welcome. In recent years, the media has published that African American female entrepreneurs are the fastest-growing segment of the population and that they are the least likely to obtain capital funding compared to other groups. Most of these women are bootstrapping their businesses. Many exist as W-2 working employees and have side businesses making less than $50K per year. Corporations and banks have received bailouts from the Federal Government and the Cares Act. Fairness should dictate a bailout for African American underrepresented small micro-businesses. Prior to and during the pandemic, there is an emerging niche segment of the business population of women making essential products and resources.

Many of the major corporations in Silicon Valley are offering grants to Black and brown businesses, however, we are unable to get a pulse on the percentage of underrepresented micro-businesses at $50K or below receiving financial grants assistance. We understand some corporations offer technical assistance. However, what mechanisms are built in to assure accountability and a fair distribution of the millions of dollars of grants allocations from the corporate sector? Many companies require the criteria of two years of operations and under 50 employees and less than $3 million in annual sales and a physical address. Again, many of the underserved micro home-based businesses making significant contributions may not fit into the corporate criteria.

We must attempt to create solutions amid the business closures, with millions losing jobs in the pandemic. By the end of the year, we anticipate facing a catastrophic depression and political changes in our government. So, it is time we discuss the creation of an infrastructure to help build communities that are inclusive towards Black female entrepreneurs. We want to enlist collective support and collaboration before it is too late! 

About ODOS:           

ODOS Synergy Services Global Entrepreneur Network is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization that empowers women of color entrepreneurs to topple barriers and open access to services to build and grow their businesses. ODOS supports underrepresented and underserved women who are tired of the corporate grind and are seeking options, choices, and solutions. As a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, we partner with best-in-class consultants and experts who have products and services to assist you in reaching your desired goal: ESCAPING CORPORATE LIFE. ODOS Synergy Services shares and promotes your brand through the ODOS Network. We are building a global community where entrepreneurs in other countries share their business successes and the pathway for you to become a successful global entrepreneur. 

https://www.odossynergyservices.org