In the third quarter of 2023, Truist surveyed 348 multicultural small business owners and found that survey respondents were increasingly concerned about sales and cash flow—both business and personal.Disclosure 1 To help manage these challenges and concerns, the surveyed owners said they’re turning to fellow entrepreneurs for support, networking for business development, accessing educational programs, and engaging mentors. We’ve gathered some resources to help with your small business success, including programs and opportunities that are specifically focused on multicultural businesses.
Where multicultural businesses are looking for help
Multicultural networking groups
Networking groups focused on cultural diversity can offer practical and emotional support that’s vital to multicultural business owners. Meeting people from similar backgrounds can provide a starting point for conversation, fostering the connections that make it easier to exchange advice, tips, and leads. Networks offer a forum for exchanging business insights and experiences, helping owners navigate situations that others from the same racial group or cultural background might have experienced.
To get the most out of networking groups, consider coming prepared with brief descriptions of what your business does and what resources you are looking for. Think about getting involved in relevant subcommittees that will connect you with the right industry or target client group.
Networking groups that support multicultural business owners
- Minority Business Development Agency
- SCORE, a nonprofit organization and resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), offering educational and networking events nationwide
- U.S. Black Chambers Inc. and U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce listings of local minority chambers
Connections with market opportunities
One problem that racially and ethnically diverse business owners often encounter is difficulty connecting with market opportunities outside of their communities. Fortunately, there are programs, like the SBA Mentor-Protégé program, and organizations that directly link culturally-diverse business suppliers with potential clients or that offer databases or listings of businesses specifically seeking multicultural suppliers.
The SBA Mentor-Protégé program is not geared specifically toward multicultural businesses, but it does give eligible small businesses the chance to pair with experienced government contractors for business development help and joint venture opportunities.
Market opportunity resources for multicultural business owners
- The SBA 8(a) Business Development program, which connects socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses owners with training and federal contracting opportunities
- The National Minority Supplier Development Council, a growth engine for minority business enterprises by linking them with corporations, the public sector, and each other
Business owners often start their businesses in the industry areas where they can apply their technical knowledge, skills, and talents. But some owners—even those with plenty of energy and drive—can still lack the business expertise needed for success. Education targeted at sharpening an entrepreneur’s business skillset can help. Courses are often free, and many are offered online for added convenience. The organizations below offer many programs covering a variety of topics.
Entrepreneurial education resources
- Truist’s Small Business Resources, including extensive articles, webinars, and other educational materials
- SCORE for All workshops and resources for women, rural, veteran, Hispanic, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Black entrepreneurs
Business mentors and advisors
Successful businesses often report that they rely on a strong network of mentors, coaches, and advisors across a variety of areas. Building a supportive network of mentors requires intentionality, regular contact, and consistent follow-through. Consider expanding your base of support by building a group of trusted confidants who can help where you need it most, whether in sales, finance, or hiring.
Sources for mentors and business coaches
- SCORE mentoring, a free service offered to U.S.-based businesses, with thousands of mentors from a variety of functional and industry backgrounds
- SBA Mentor-Protégé program
- Operation HOPE’s 1 Million Black Businesses initiative, which includes a mentoring program with volunteer business experts providing free help on a wide variety of small business development topics