Black business owners only make up 2 percent of business owners in Texas.
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — First Edition continues to profile South Texas Black-owned businesses and their stories — inspiring future generations.
Daniel Roberson is known for a dessert that will have your mouth watering, but also talks about the uphill challenges an entrepreneur faces in Texas.
Whether you say pee-can, or puh-cahn pie, trying to get the recipe to any of these tasty pies has proven to be an exercise in futility.
“Yes,” he said with a laugh. “I can’t tell that.”
Roberson spent 20-plus years as a truck driver, but recently, he hit the brakes and started baking!
“The draw is the pies,” he said. “Most people come looking for pies.”
And he’s betting his life savings you, too, will become a fan.
“I started with my grandmother,” he said. “(At) 15 in the kitchen with her.”
As a racial minority, Roberson has become part of an even smaller group — Black business owners, which only make up 2 percent of business owners in Texas.
Access to capital is a key one, and having their ducks in a row; in other words, having a plan.
Ana Fierova closely monitors all things small biz in the state and at the federal level.
She manages Del Mar College’s Small Business Development Center — designed to help mom and pops like Roberson’s succeed by offering free services.
“Everyone has unique challenges that they come in the door with,” she said. “And I don’t know that I can draw a line to a specific thing that is harder for some. Usually that relates to eligibility to get a loan.”
Statistics show 79 percent of Black owners rely on personal savings, family, or friends to start their company, compared to their white counterparts at 65 percent.
Once attained, in some cases, there are certification programs to help get larger work or contracts.
The state of Texas has something called historically underutilized business, which is hub certified. That is the one that is the most widely utilized.
Roberson said he has found the resources he needs through the Small Business Development Center helping to get his pie business-concept cooking!
He was able to reveal one secret he hopes will keep him serving desserts for a long time coming.
“I have clientele in Alice, Robstown, Kingsville, so I have a lot of support,” he said. “And I love the people and they love my pies!”
Small pies start at $6.50, and large around $25.
You can find ‘The Pie Man’ at Weber and Gollihar.
If you are looking to start a business, dig out of trouble, or simply need someone in the know to guide you, reach out to Del Mar College’s Small Business Development Center.