Monday, May 20, 2024
Prince William calls for more diversity in businesses.

Prince William calls for more diversity in businesses.

Black Business Owners Seek More Prominent Seat at the Table

Black business owners recently met with U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger and Prince William County officials to express their desire for a more prominent role in decision-making processes. The meeting aimed to address the unique challenges faced by Black business owners and find solutions to these issues.

“We need invites,” emphasized Jinnae Monroe, founder of the nonprofit organization HireGround, which supports workforce development. Monroe shared her experiences of being singled out due to her skin color while serving on local, state, and federal organizations. She expressed the need for more representation of Black individuals in positions of power to advocate for their community.

One of the prominent concerns raised during the meeting was the issue of affordable housing, which poses challenges for Black entrepreneurs and other people of color residing and working in Prince William County.

Furthermore, the business leaders expressed their alarm regarding attacks on affirmative action at the federal level, especially considering the recent Supreme Court ruling that deemed it illegal.

Promises of Support and Collaboration

Addressing the concerns raised, U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger assured the business owners of her commitment to recognizing, supporting, and celebrating Black business owners across Virginia. She acknowledged the particular challenges they face and pledged her support in addressing these issues through federal business legislation.

The roundtable discussion, held at epiQ Food Hall in Woodbridge in honor of National Black Business Month, included representatives from the Virginia Black Business Directory and Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce. Local officials, including Potomac and Neabsco District supervisors Andrea Bailey and Victory Angry, also attended the meeting.

Supervisor Bailey acknowledged Monroe’s remarks about the lack of Black representation in business and emphasized that Prince William County is undergoing a paradigm shift in its attitude towards diversity. Bailey also stated that the county has received support from Spanberger’s office in this endeavor.

Discussing the issue of accessing federal funding, which is crucial for Black residents to establish new businesses, Spanberger and the attendees voiced their concerns. Black individuals often face disproportionate rejection when applying for business loans. Spanberger affirmed her commitment to providing federal funding specifically for Black businesses.

Highlighting the growing partnership between Prince William County officials and Spanberger, Supervisor Bailey mentioned Spanberger’s recent invitation to local officials for a training event on applying for business grants. This initiative aimed to ensure that constituents are well-informed about the available resources and can effectively access them. Spanberger emphasized the importance of empowering communities newly represented by her so they can benefit from the resources provided.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, InsideNoVa.com, and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

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