National Black Chamber of Commerce Calls on Small Business Administration to Revitalize Programs

Harry Alford and Kay DeBow, co-founder’s of the NBCC. (Twitter Photo @NationalBCC)

Here are the benefits: “To help provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the 8(a) Business Development program.

“Disadvantaged businesses in the 8(a) Program can:  Compete for set-aside and sole-source contracts in the program.  Form joint ventures with established businesses through the SBA’s mentor-protégé program.  Receive management and technical assistance, including business training, counseling, market assistance, and high-level executive development programs, as they apply.”

Most successful program ever

The 8(a) program was the brainchild of Parren J. Mitchell while he was chair of the House Small Business Committee and his staff, led by NBCC Board Member Anthony W. Robinson.  It is the most successful minority business program in the history of federal procurement. No formal program has made more Black millionaires than this program. Still, it must be updated and reinforced.

A five percent minority business goal for the federal government is a pittance.  The Black population percentage of our nation is over 14.6 percent alone; Hispanics are 17 percent.  That’s 31.6 percent without other ethnicities. Racism and passive discrimination in this nation still exists and per the U.S. Supreme Court and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, discrimination must be addressed according to the disparate impact placed on identified groups.

Didn’t follow through

President Bill Clinton had the answer to this after being encouraged (or intimidated) from the 1996 Million Man March.  His plan to “mend” affirmative action rather than “end” it included formal disparity studies for each of the 10 federal regions.  Following that, adjusted goals could be implemented. One big problem – he never did it. The Congressional Black Caucus should wake up and take the lead from its greatest founder, Congressman Mitchell, and proceed with the above idea.

The great HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson applied this logic and took Black procurement at HUD to new heights, approaching 32 percent. President George W. Bush watched his back as Democratic congressmen tried to have him indicted for whatever reason they could find.  He eventually resigned to spend time protecting his name and future during various hearings and investigations. HUD does about four percent in Black procurement today.

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Source: Black Press USA