The Minority Business Development & Oversight Commission discussed obstacles, aired frustrations, and made plans to bolster black-owned business growth on Tuesday.
"We always do all this talking," MBDOC Chairwoman Judith Black Moore said. "I want to know how get there. People are having issues and problems that need to be addressed. All we do is bicker and we’re not getting anywhere. Our job is to ... change the dynamics of how we do business. The taxpayers are looking for someone as an independent eye. People are looking to us to be their voice."
Mayor Jim Strickland announced four new programs last month intended to increase revenue for minority owned businesses — those that currently rake in less than one percent of revenue in Memphis. With only a handful of months left in the year, MBDOC will begin receiving quarterly trend analyses on how those businesses are performing while also reporting case studies based on the hurdles they've faced.
MBDOC's hope is, Moore said, that the information will aid City Council and Mayor Strickland's administration in correcting the issues that face minority owned businesses as the city attempts to spur growth.
"When someone comes in here with a problem, we’re gonna act on it," Moore said. "City Council can do what they want with it, but we’re going to report it."
Tuesday's meeting did not offer many resolutions, but board members aired frustrations, and sometimes grew heated with each other, while trying to develop priorities moving forward. MBDOC's members agreed that more education and mentorship needs to be provided so there aren't "just a few more seats at the table" but an environment where minority businesses can thrive.