According to the Census, 12% of businesses in southeast North Carolina are minority-owned. Also according to the Census, 21% of the population is non-white and non-Hispanic. Similarly, 37% of businesses are woman-owned and 52% of the population are women.
These statistics show a disconnect. How can we move the statistics in our region so there is a 1:1 correlation of business ownership to population? How might we level out the playing field to ensure that equal opportunities for success are available to everyone? After all, entrepreneurship has the potential to be a powerful equalizer. Several organizations in the Cape Fear region, including Cape Fear YWCA Living the Dream Center for Entrepreneurship, Genesis Block, and the Kairos Empowerment Center are mission-driven to address these statistics. However, each of us can play a part.
One way is to support existing minority- and woman-owned businesses by purchasing their products and services. Easy enough! Another way is to celebrate the success of thriving business owners. A third way is to share and participate in educational and networking opportunities so everyone has the same ability to start and grow a thriving business.
Everyone in our community (including you!) is invited to join in celebrating, learning, and networking at the Cape Fear Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week from October 4-8, 2021. With more than 30 virtual and in-person events, there is something for everyone. Register for events here today.
Cape Fear Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week activities are part of the national observance of Minority Enterprise Development Week, which was created by presidential proclamation in 1983. Our local event series began in 2015 at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) and has been coordinated with the help of community partners to recognize the economic impact of minority- and women-owned businesses. It is a weeklong event by the community, for the community. It is being spearheaded this year by the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.
Below is a list of the extensive opportunities that you will find at the Cape Fear MED Week website. When writing this column, I considered only providing a few examples but with one extraordinary event after another, how would I start to shorten this list?
Monday, October 4
- Video Marketing to Effortlessly Sell Your Products and Services
- Creating Positive Workspaces
- Optimizing Your Website for More Traffic
- Stabilization and Growth for Your Food Business
- Contracting 101: Selling to the Government
- Your First Follower: A Primer for Start-Up Founders
- Minorities in Marine Science and Ocean Entrepreneurship
Tuesday, October 5
- Coalition Roundtables
- Google for Your Business Mini-Summit
- Recursos Gratuitos para Desarrollar Ideas de Negocios en la Región de Cape Fear
- Positioning Mental Health in your Business Plan for Success
- YouTube Advertising to Scale Your Business on a Budget
- “Are Your Materials 4 Months Delayed? Is your Supply Chain Broken?”: A discussion of Supply Chain Needs and Anomalies
- Put The National Resources of the US Small Business Administration To Work for YOUR Business (It's easier than you think!)
- Intentional Collisions
Wednesday, October 6
- Cultivating Executive Presence for Success
- 1 Million Cups Wilmington
- Social Entrepreneurship Panel: Growing Your Business and Your Society
- Reskilling and Upskilling: A Primer for the Future
- 21 Ways to Leverage Word of Mouth Marketing in 2021
- Know Your Numbers
- De una idea, a una empresa: conversación con emprendedores Latinos de la región de Cape Fear
- Women: Find your Professional Tribe!
- Anza Product Launch & Networking
Thursday, October 7
- Using the Tier 1, 2 & 3 Strategy To Increase Minority Participation in Construction
- Préstamos para Pequeños Negocios Latinos
- 2021 WilmingtonBiz Conference & Expo
Friday, October 8
- Diversity & Equity in the Workplace and Employee Engagement
- Strategy Roundtable Sessions: How businesses can properly plan to scale and sustain their growth
- Leading Effective Meetings - Essential Skills For Today's Ambitious Leader
- Digital Marketing: How to Get More Done in Less Time for Less Money
- Business Development Opportunities Through US Small Business Administration Contracting Programs of 8a and HUBZone
- Genesis Block Demo Day
Register for Cape Fear Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week events here today. Celebrate, learn, and network. Also, be sure to buy something from a minority- and woman-owned business that week and every week.
Heather McWhorter empowers individuals and communities to prosper through entrepreneurship, innovation, and sustainability. She is the Interim Director of the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and the Regional Director of the UNCW SBTDC. For information about how CIE connects, leverages, and ignites regional strengths and university expertise to create innovative and entrepreneurial solutions to global challenges, please visit uncw.edu/cie/.