Mayor outlines added support for Black, minority-owned businesses

July 02, 2021

Mayor Greg Fischer today highlighted Louisville Metro Government’s efforts to provide more support and resources to help Black and other minority residents start and grow businesses.

Despite Black residents accounting for 23.4% of Louisville’s population, only 2.4% of businesses in Louisville are Black owned.

“We recognize that we are not going to reverse the effects of redlining, disinvestment and disenfranchisement overnight. It is going to take time and dollars,” the Mayor said. “Knowing that Black and other minority-owned businesses do not have access to the same resources that many white business owners do, we are increasing even more our intentionality around additional support structures for those businesses in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget.”

In the Fiscal Year 22 budget, Louisville Metro allocated more than $13 million to fund initiatives aimed at supporting Black and other minority-owned businesses, including:

  • $25,000 to support capacity building for Black Business Association;
  • $65,000 to hire a new West Louisville Senior Economic Development Manager;
  • $100,000 in additional funds for a Minority Business Incubator;
  • $250,000 for Equity in Procurement;
  • $1.5 million to grow the METCO small business loan program;
  • $2.7 million to create a new small business assistance fund; and
  • $10 million for the West End Opportunity Partnership.

Some of these efforts, such as the METCO loan program and small business assistance fund, will provide dollars directly to businesses. The longstanding METCO program aims to help individuals who face barriers to obtaining traditional capital. Details around how the small business assistance fund will operate and eligibility are still to be determined.

Learn more about the METCO loan program at https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-forward/local-loan-progr….

Other initiatives, including support for the Black Business Association, a new Minority Business Incubator, and hiring of a West Louisville Senior Economic Development Manager, will bolster networking opportunities and technical support for business owners.

By hiring a third economic development manager, Louisville Metro’s small business team will be able to help more businesses get started and expand. In 2019 and 2020, the small business team assisted more than 1,000 Black and minority-owned businesses.

In addition to the small business assistance efforts, the Fiscal Year 2022 budget includes funding for work through the Equity in Contracting & Procurement Task Force. In September, Mayor Fischer established the taskforce to close the community’s wealth gap by supporting Black-owned and Minority-, Female- and Disabled-owned Business Enterprises (MFDBE) through supplier diversity initiatives, particularly related to capital projects.

The funding allocated in this year’s budget will help with data collection, events, the creation of a new website and more.

“The Task Force has been hard at work gathering data to establish goals and timetables directed toward increasing the use of MFDBEs and Black-owned businesses,” said Verna Goatley, Director of the Human Relations Commission and task force member. “In addition to data collection and reporting, the Task Force has been working to ensure that non-discrimination, equity, and equal opportunity are safeguarded, promoted and reflected in Louisville Metro’s workplaces, as well as its decisions affecting hiring, programs, activities, services, developments and capital projects.”

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