Chicago Black Businesses to Receive Half-a-Million-Dollar Grants

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Charlotte, Memphis, Milwaukee, and Los Angeles will each also get $100,000 to boost spending

Now is the time to be in business if you are a Black person. These newly announced grants are a clear example of the opportunities for support that are out there for sound business ideas.

According to Black Enterprise:
As part of an expanded City Accelerator program, Charlotte, Chicago, Memphis, Milwaukee, and Los Angeles will each get $100,000 to boost procurement spending with those businesses.

During the next year, the five cities will work together to refine their approach for that activity, including pursuing at least one new strategy to increase the diversity of municipal vendors and contractors and direct buying more goods and services from local minority-owned firms.

The program, funded by the nonprofit agencies of Living Cities and the Citi Foundation, was started four years ago to also spur economic development activities and create jobs in communities with a high number of low-income residents. Participating cities have procurement programs in place or desire to boost their spending with diverse vendors.

At the same time, a growing number of cities are placing a higher priority on procurement reform. And the ante is high for potential suppliers, with annual procurement spending by cities across America estimated at $1.6 trillion. Another prospect is that these cities will inspire local companies to do more business with those vendors.

Though the cities will of course decide what type of diverse businesses they might hire, some observers contend that they could range from suppliers and service companies that can do everything from local infrastructure work to those providing retail services.

“These cities are taking a hard look at how they purchase goods and services for their communities,” Ed Skyler, Citi’s executive vice president for global public affairs and chairman of the Citi Foundation, stated in a press release. “They recognize that there is an opportunity to strengthen their procurement practices—and cities overall—by connecting directly with the diverse businesses and ideas within their communities.” Skyler is also a former deputy mayor of New York City.

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Ben Hecht, president and CEO of Living Cities, agrees. “These five cities were asked to lead the way, and we are excited to lift up their work as examples of how we can create a new urban practice dedicated to getting dramatically better results for low-income people faster.”

To ready entire article, go to Black Enterprise.

About the author / 

Toure Muhammad

Author Toure Muhammad is the head bean, publisher and chief strategist of Bean Soup Times. The Morehouse graduate has written front page cover stories for The Final Call and N’digo. He has been featured in the Chicago Reader, Upscale magazine, rolling out newspaper, and N’Digo magapaper. He’s been featured on Tavis Smiley’s radio show on NPR, on Chicago’s WBEZ (Chicago public radio), and many other radio shows.

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