SBA Plans Rejected
Representatives of small business owners nationwide rejected a U.S. Small Business Administration proposal to report billions of dollars to venture capital firms, Fortune 500 companies and other large corporations as small-business contracts. SBA’s proposal includes continuing receipt-based rather than employee-based size standards, establishing a tiered system of size standards, and grandfathering federal contracts so that large companies could hold on to their small business set-aside contracts for up to five more years. SBA also proposes that small businesses that are majority owned by venture capital companies should not have to take into account that affiliation when determining their small-business status.
The NAACP’s 2005 report on corporate racial diversity shows that many of the 55 companies analyzed seem to be stagnating, with most earning virtually the same grades as last year. The companies analyzed were in the telecommunications, lodging, finance, retail and auto industries. They self-reported their work with Blacks in employment, charitable giving, advertising, contracting and community service. Four industries earned a C grade. Retail got a D, largely because five of the 11 companies examined did not respond to the NAACP’s request for information. Those companies received Fs. NAACP officials said that in the future the group might organize boycotts of companies that don’t supply diversity information. BellSouth received the highest rank of all the companies, a 3.3 out of a possible 4 points. Mitsubishi Motors North America got the lowest rank, a 1.18.
The majority of Black entrepreneurs now are women, according to figures from the Social Security Administration. From 1997 to 2002 the number of self-employed Black women in the United States grew 70 percent, to 453,653 from 267,311, the figures show. The number of self-employed Black men grew 21 percent over the same period, to 378,726 from 312,872. John Templeton, editor of blackmoney.com and author of Unfinished Dream: State of Black Business, said rising college graduation rates among women and positive role models are factors in the increase in the number of black female entrepreneurs
Large-Size Women’s Shoes
Women with longer and wider feet can now turn to Taceri.com for fashionable and trendy all-leather shoes, ranging from pumps to sandals to flats. Launched online this year by former financial industry professional and lawyer Tamara C. Richardson, Taceri is the first U.S. shoe line dedicated exclusively to women in the size 10-14 market. Customers can view the shoes at the Web site, as well as make purchases and arrange private viewings. Taceri will be conducting trunk shows in select cities throughout the United Sates.
Activists representing Black, Hispanic and Asian voters told a commission examining the Democratic presidential primary system that states with significant minority populations should play a role earlier on in the process. Under the present system, in which primaries are held first in Iowa and New Hampshire, candidates spend less time and money in states that vote later. The problem is worsened when the contests in Iowa and New Hampshire are followed by a crush of early primaries that virtually determine the candidate before voters in other states weigh in, some people at the hearing said. In 2004, 30 states had held delegate selection contests by mid-March. The commission plans to study various proposals for changing the calendar before meeting again in October. It plans to issue recommendations in December.
Debra Jenkins, a white woman who has worked at Langston University since 1979, won a racial discrimination case against the historically Black college. A federal jury awarded Jenkins nearly $300,000 in damages. Jenkins, 45, began her battle with the university in 2000, when she says she was passed over for a promotion to payroll supervisor in favor of a Black co-worker with less experience. An attorney for Langston’s regents insisted Jenkins turned down the payroll job at the heart of her lawsuit and denied racism played any part in the hiring process at the university. Officials with the Board of Regents for Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges, which oversees the university, haven’t decided whether to appeal.
A midyear report shows Chicago increased the dollar value of its contracts with businesses owned by women and minorities. The city’s procurement agency awarded almost $897 million worth of contracts to businesses in the set-aside program from January through June of this year, almost as much as was awarded all of last year. Businesses owned by Blacks got $95.2 million in contracts so far this year. Hispanics, the city’s fastest-growing ethnic group, received contracts worth $87.3 million. Businesses owned by minorities and women still received only about 35 percent of city contracts, about the same as last year and not enough, according to some minority aldermen.
New York Firm Discriminates
Federal officials accused New York-based Allied Aviation Services Inc. of discriminating against Black and Hispanic workers and failing to stop white employees from routinely using racial slurs in the workplace. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit against the company in federal district court in Dallas on behalf of three employees at Allied’s facility at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Black employees said whites forced them to ride in the back of company buses and a Hispanic manager said his boss kept a cartoon that depicted the manager tied down in ‘the Mexican gas chamber.’
Juice Market Research, a division of Phoenix Marketing International, launched a syndicated market-research project to study active African-American investors, the first of its kind, designed to enable investment services companies to find out which firms are viewed most favorably among African-American active investors. The report will be delivered in three volumes–a General Market Comparison, an Advertising Study and Volumetrics–and will be appended with demographics. The General Market Comparison was scheduled to be made available in early August. More than 900 respondents were surveyed via the Internet from August 2004 to June 2005 for the report.
The Executive Leadership Council, the premier leadership organization of the most senior African-American executives in Fortune 500 companies, and The Marathon Club will collaborate to increase investment of private equity capital in businesses owned by African-Americans and Latinos. The Marathon Club, made up of African-American and Latino business executives, was established in 2002 by the National Association of Investment Cos. and the New America Alliance. NAIC is the industry association for private equity firms that specialize in investing in America’s emerging domestic market. NAA’s members are Latino business people who promote the advancement of the U.S. Latino community
In the profile of Elisa M. Westfield Esq., that appears on page 46 of the June 2005 issue of TNJ, the sentence in paragraph three that begins “In 2000, the year...” and ends “...nontraditional careers” should read as follows: “In 2002, the year she received a law degree, Westfield launched Girls Action Network, a nonprofit organization the goal of which is to encourage teenage girls to shatter the stereotypes that limit their education and career options.” While Westfield received a Joint Chiefs of Staff Service Badge at the end of her tour as a U.S. intelligence officer, as stated in paragraph three, that badge was presented by someone other than former Secretary of State Colin Powell.