By Malik Majeed, President, CEO & General Counsel
I often talk about PRWT’s commitment to hiring locally and how it is a top priority for us. Beyond that, when we have an opportunity to hire contractors for a project or client need, we assertively look to include other minority-owned businesses, such as our long-time partner Team Clean Inc., a minority and woman owned janitorial services company.
As Michelle Obama once said, “When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”
While mentorships and relationships are important to helping others succeed, we need to start thinking creatively in order to scale up our efforts to increase minority-owned business numbers in Philadelphia.
I recently read an article about Charlotte’s efforts to leverage the 2019 NBA All-Star Game to increase the number of contracts minority-owned businesses land with the NBA. From now until the game in February, the city is offering mentoring opportunities and face time with NBA executives in hopes that the association and its teams will partner with local business owners during the sporting event. Participants will attend sessions to learn how to access capital needed for growth, and about ways to improve their marketing and sales strategies, among other things.
Businesses will not necessarily score a contract with the NBA, but the face time with executives alone is exponentially beneficial to helping a company grow and opening up future business opportunities. Additionally, by bringing all of these minority-owned companies together for mentoring sessions, the city is creating a whole network to facilitate increased collaboration between these organizations and to help foster business growth.
That’s exactly the kind of creativity we need in Philadelphia to jump-start our minority-owned businesses. I encourage our city leaders to come together and think of ways the private and public sectors can work to increase opportunities for our minority business community – beyond the conventional programs that are already in place. We need to start opening more doors for minority business owners.