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By Kellye Johnson, KJ Financial Services

As the narrative for entrepreneurship in the black community shifts, so does the conversations
for funding. An idea of mysterious business grants and free funding seems to continuously find
its way into many conversations when dealing with small Black Owned Businesses (BOBs).
When a business is a ‘for profit’ business, it is extremely difficult to find options for free money.
BOBs need to shift the conversation into researching other resources that can help their
businesses thrive and grow. A thriving business with potential for growth could then attract
possible investors, opportunities for crowdfunding, and eligibility for low interest loans. This
article will discuss three handy resources that can assist BOBs with expansion and ultimately
funding.


Business Consultants/Coaching
There are many agencies designed to assist the small business on local, state, and national
levels for free. The Small Business Association, The Small Business Development Center and
Oklahoma Procurement and Technical Assistance Centers are designed to coach and prepare
small businesses to become competitive in their respective markets. Did you know that these
organizations have business counselors and coaches readily available to assist with most
business endeavors? Each of these organizations have a specialty function for their clients but
all are there to support growth of small businesses.


Training
As entrepreneurs, education is key to sustaining a profitable business. Key players in any
profession can be found attending business conferences, industry specific events and often as
instructors to occupational training. Educational events are a great opportunity to network with
industry giants. Business literacy has its perks in many instances beyond the classroom.


Certifications
Business certifications often receive mixed reviews because the purpose for each can be lost
with long and often cumbersome applications. While some certifications are required for certain
industries, others are acquired for leverage in gaining contracts. For example, certified
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) fims gain spots in a pool of businesses that are
eligible to subcontract on federally funded projects, access to training reimbursements and also
assistance for financial audits. Whereas, a Small Business Certification helps local government
agencies identify viable small businesses to invite for bids on local contracting. Knowing which
certifications are important for industry standards give businesses the necessary edge to rise
above competitors in their respective markets.


As small businesses expand their knowledge and visibility amongst their peers through these
resources, opportunities for the funding they need will increase tremendously.

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