Day: Minority-Owned Businesses Key To Economic Growth, Community-Wide Prosperity | The Journal Record

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By John Day / Special to The Journal Record

When was the last time you ate or shopped at a minority-owned business? Local economies depend on the growth of minority-owned businesses.

John Day

There are approximately 1.2 million minority-owned firms in the U.S. that contribute $1.6 trillion in U.S. economic output and 9.8 million jobs per year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency. Small businesses are the backbone of our country’s economy, and the growth rate of minority-owned businesses is nearly double the growth rate of non-minority-owned businesses.

Every new minority-owned business contributes to both our nation’s economic output and local communities. Studies show that minority business owners are also more likely to hire locally and reinvest in their communities. This is good, honest capitalism at its finest.

As the President and CEO of First Security Bank, Oklahoma’s only Black-owned bank, I see the impact minority-owned businesses have on our community firsthand. Our client list includes personal trainer turned gym owner, Emmanuel Sosanya, whose gym, Intentional Fitness, has helped community members in Northeast Oklahoma City implement overall fitness into their daily lives. FSB client Chasadi Ortiz’s business, Lottie Scott Title Company, assists community members on the east side of Oklahoma City become property owners by acquiring commercial, land, and residential titles.

First Security Bank provided financial capital to Alexia and Jermaine Hardison, who said other banks would not even take the time to listen to the business plan they created for their property management company, Hardison Holdings.

“Having not come from money and not having business connections, most banks weren’t even willing to listen to our business plan. We were turned away so many times before we finally were heard,” Mr. Hardison said. Hardison Holdings is instrumental in helping Oklahoma City residents and beyond secure affordable housing. Studies show that small businesses like theirs benefit every aspect of their communities from increasing property values and funding for local schools to spurring additional business development that benefits the workforce. Housing density feeds commerce, which in turn feeds housing density.

As creatures of habit, we can easily become dependent on the goods and services produced by major chain stores that often benefit from deep pockets and a seemingly endless supply of products. We know that trying something new means taking a risk, but we encourage our community members to be courageous and curious.

I challenge you to look around and observe which minority-owned businesses might be on your morning commute, or if there’s a neighborhood in your community that you’ve never explored. Then, stop by those businesses and take a look around.

By doing so you may make a new friend, discover a new favorite meal, or the perfect gift for a loved one. One thing is certain; you will be helping your neighbor, a cause we at FSB take to heart. We ask other institutions, leaders, and Oklahoma City community members to be intentional about their support of our city’s minority-owned businesses and witness, as we have, the remarkable difference that support makes.

John Day is the president and CEO of First Security Bank in Oklahoma City.

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