HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — The pandemic continues to create challenges for new and established local businesses owners in the Triad.
For minority and women-owned businesses, the challenge to stand out and obtain funding is a large hill to get over.
“Historic marginalization of woman and minority-owned businesses exists, and they are seen as not being bankable,” explained Thrive High Point Executive Director Dr. Bryle Hatch.
Thrive High Point and the High Point Chamber of Commerce and helped put on the first-ever Community Talk event at Congdon Yards in High Point.
The first community talk was held Wednesday afternoon with a heavy focus on “The Importance of Supplier Inclusion and Its Impact on High Point’s Economic Ecosystem.”
“The great thing about a local economic ecosystem is it’s local. Being able to hire locals impacts your society. To buy local is really important,” Hatch said.
THP has helped 125 minority and woman-owned businesses find their footing and grow over the past five months.
Among those attached to THP is High Point Logistics, a trucking company that started three years ago.
Co-owners Ken Altman and Pierre Davis spoke to a crowd of more than a dozen entrepreneurs at Wednesday’s conference.
Their biggest advice was to invest in employees and people before buying bulk loads of equipment to operate.
“It takes endurance. It takes patience,” Pierre explained of their own business models.
Many small businesses, including their own, have run into difficulties competing against big companies for employees, grants and contracts.
Altman suggests small businesses use their ability to adapt to accommodate schedules as a way to attract potential employees.
“People want to feel appreciated. People want to know that when they go to work their job really cares about them,” Altman said.
For Alexis Stuckey, the journey to create her own business has been stuck in the marketing phase. She attempted to start her own hair collection business several years ago but could never get it off the ground.
“The biggest challenge I face is probably marketing. Just getting my name out there, especially in the hair business where there are so many big names,” she said.
After Wednesday’s conference, she said she feels more confident in taking a bigger first step.
Hatch’s advice to her and other owners is, “knowing yourself and being cultural conscious is how you can grow.”
Another Community Talk is scheduled for sometime in March.
A topic has not been picked.