The Boston Globe Spotlight series “Boston. Racism. Image. Reality.” highlights the need to support African-American-owned businesses and other small businesses owned by people of color. The state’s Small Business Technical Assistance program, administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp., has been quietly doing just that since 2006 by providing grants to community-based groups in Boston, in Gateway Cities, and across the Commonwealth.
These community groups, in turn, helped nearly 1,700 small businesses last year — 51 percent people of color, 31 percent immigrants, 55 percent women-owned, and a total of 88 percent that fell into at least one of the state’s categories for disadvantaged business owners. What’s more, 79 percent of these businesses achieved positive outcome by opening, growing, or stabilizing their business.
Unfortunately, funding for this highly effective program has been cut by 62.5 percent over the past two budget cycles. We urge Governor Baker and the Legislature to restore the program to the fiscal 2016 level of $2 million or more. If we are serious about moving the needle on racial inequity, then we have to invest in programs that work.