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Alabama’s Underserved, Diverse and Small Business Leaders: Wake Up!

In two research studies titled “2017’s Best And Worst States To Start A Business“and “2018’s Best And Worst States To Start A Business, “dated July 5, 2017 and July 2, 2018 respectively, the State of Alabama ranked overall #42 out of 50 states with 1 being the best ranking. The study reports the states’ rankings in three areas including (1) Business Environment, (2) Access to Resources, and (3) Business Costs. In these contexts, Alabama ranks as #50, the last state for business environment, and closely following as #31 in providing access to resources. Alabama scored a high ranking of #9 out of 50 states for Business Costs.

The state of Alabama needs more voices that speak to the current condition of diverse and underrepresented small business owners. We need a long-term strategy that speaks to our business model but challenges us to be adaptable. Any long-term strategy should have measurable results, hold the organization and business owners accountable for results and be innovative in its approach.

The local diverse and underserved business owners are the unsung heroes of many local communities in the state. Your drive to thrive is what will allow our communities to be more resilient because your established businesses speak directly to concerns of the local community. It is imperative that we give as much research, training, resources and positive energy to the local restaurant, farmer, tech start-up and grocers in expanding their goods and services to our local communities as we do to larger businesses in Alabama (i.e. Hyundai, Honda, and Mercedes Benz).

The national statistics paint a picture of gloom for the State of Alabama because we have not looked beyond short-term increases in employment from multinational companies. These larger businesses are not the long-term source of net increases in local employment opportunities. Small, diverse and underrepresented businesses owners are the solution. They employ local people while buying local products and services. The larger national companies provide short-term employment increases, but when these larger organizations have a change in leadership, or profits do not meet corporate expectations, they vacate our communities - just as U.S. Steel and Wal-Mart destroyed commerce in Fairfield, Alabama. What long-term benefit is it to our state? My point is that we need both larger and small businesses that stay long term while contributing to the creation of more local diverse and small business opportunities as a strategy to make our state business climate one of the best in the country. Just as we believe in Alabama football, we should provide as many sustainable resources that challenge our small business to remain competitive. The current local business resources have not given us the best small business climate that Alabama deserves.

We see opportunities to improve these statistics for inclusion of diverse and underrepresented small business owners as one of the long-term solutions for improving the overall local employment statistics and creating livable communities. A conversation to improve these statistics requires a long-term collaborative strategy. At Osborne Enterprises Inc., our research driven business training program, Vendor Boot Camp©, has collaborated with research organizations, local businesses, other governmental and non-profit institutions of higher learning to Focus, Plan and Execute on improvements in small business competitiveness.

Over the last five years, Osborne Enterprises Inc. has assisted in producing sustainable programs that retain talent in our state, engage diverse and underrepresented business owners in planning their own success and offer small businesses the opportunity to give (more than $275,000 in five years) back to local centers of higher learning. This recipe for sustainability has not been driven by any governmental assistance but by local business owners who value our training, organizations that embrace innovative approaches and business owners who see the competitive advantage of remaining continuous learners. To all the state of Alabama purchasing agents, corporate inclusion suppliers and collaborating institutions we can start the conversation by looking at a solution that is working.

As illustrated in the image above, larger corporations are collaborating for greater market share and profits (Walmart/Burger King). Creating collaborations, strategic alliances for small and diverse business owners are possible. We offer training that places the local business owner as the most important resource in our community.

For the next 30 days, we are inviting you to experience our Vendor Boot Camp© training at no cost to your small business. Register Today, to take advantage of this limited time offer.


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