Developing a just and inclusive business ecosystem for all small businesses is imperative for the economic success of our community and nation.
Yet, entrepreneurs of color are underrepresented, underfunded and lack the access to skill development opportunities to help them grow and scale.
On Wednesday, October 21st at noon, we hosted a candid conversation about the importance of public and private partnerships in creating a nurturing ecosystem for minority contractors. During the session, our panelists addressed the Ascend Houston program, a national model to close the wealth and racial gap in entrepreneurship through access to capital, contracting opportunities and business education.
Our panelists for the discussion included: Carolyn Watson, Vice President Corporate Responsibility at JPMorgan Chase Foundation; Maya Durnovo, Chief Entrepreneurial Officer of Houston Community College; Janie Barrera, President & CEO of LiftFund; and moderator Tandelyn Weaver, Executive Director of The Kingdom Builders’ Center.
Following the panel discussion, we engaged in conversation with Cecily Williams, owner of BCB Construction, Leila Martinez, owner of MLRoofing, and Roger Harris, Development Specialist Manager of Houston First Corporation on the challenges and opportunities faced by minority and female business owners. This conversation was moderated by Michi Bruns Clay, Regional VP for LiftFund’s East Region.