If you’re a Black business owner, you know how hard it is to do business with the government. Whether city, county, state or federal, it’s just difficult on all levels. Still, you know that getting government contracts is the way to take your company to the next level — government contracts can be very lucrative and quickly put you in a position to hire. Whether you’d like to cater meals for City Hall or sell pencils to the Department of Transportation, there is another route you may not have considered — smaller, Blacker, suburban jurisdictions.
More Blacks live in suburbs today than in cities. Fact. Further, with the rapid gentrifying of cities, suburban communities are increasingly shifting in racial composition. Once upon a time Decatur, Ga was lily white — not so today. The same is true for many of the Maryland suburbs outside of Washington. Today, however, Black people not only have majorities in many of these places but also are in key leadership positions. Further, because these localities are smaller and less complex politically than a Chicago or New York, it’s often much easier to make headway.
You can easily talk to the Black mayor of a small, suburban city and get real feedback. Often, the contracting process is often much simpler — you may not even need to go through a city council. It could be, in some places, that a Black police chief actually has power to choose a company to wash squad cars. None of these things happen in larger cities. At all. Smaller communities, especially smaller communities with Black majorities and Black political power, present amazing opportunities for Black entrepreneurs to make that next step.
Perhaps you’ve never thought about doing business with smaller communities but you should. Gentrification may, perhaps, have a few good side effects if Black entrepreneurs open their eyes to the opportunities available. Maybe you’re not in position to do business with New York City but there are plenty of other places that spend money and you might be surprised at how much easier it could be for you to receive it.