West Palm Beach Racial & Ethnic Equality Action Summit 2021

Finance, Banking and Business  Policy Recommendations

To reduce racial and ethnic disparities, the Finance, Banking, and Business Subcommittee identified the following priorities of focus: Improving relationships between small business and banking and finance institutions and reducing existing racial barriers and inequities that impede business owners within marginalized communities; supporting residents’ economic advancement by addressing gaps in opportunities to access capital and build wealth.

Under these priorities, the Task Force proposes the following policy recommendations:

Last Updated: September 20, 2021

Finance, Banking and Business Policy Recommendations

Recommendation: Create a dedicated city-staffed neighborhood small business center with a presence in identified underserved neighborhoods in the city

Invest in strategies to support entrepreneurs, especially in minority communities, to become business owners, including strategies such as grant and micro-funding opportunities, guidance and simplified grant and loan processes, and business start-up courses and resources in all languages.

  • Establish Small Business Mentors or Ambassadors for new business owners for partnering and guidance with business development
  • Launch a campaign to bring more small businesses to West Palm Beach with outreach that recognizes cultural differences and past oppression, highlights existing small businesses in the city, and encourages businesses to open in underserved areas
  • Provide financial incentives for small businesses that open in underserved communities
  • Create an easily accessible directory of minority-owned businesses that the city promotes
  • Further engage and support existing partners, incubators, and organizations that currently support small businesses in the city.

Recommendation: Develop or support initiatives that solicit bids from and offer contracts to small and medium-sized minority-owned businesses from both city and private enterprises in multiple languages

  • Improve access to a bidding system for service providers and require a certain percentage of the city contracts and private development on sites previously owned by or leased by the City to go to minority-owned businesses
  • Increase vendor preference for city or Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) and Downtown Development Authority (DDA) contracts to 20% for minority-owned businesses with a preference for small businesses with Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) certifications
  • Create a vendor reporting system that allows anonymous reporting of racial inequities and discrimination

Recommendation: Incentivize offices of financial institutions to locate in black and brown neighborhoods with the goal of investing in increasing the percentage of homeownership

  • Incentivize and encourage more banks and credit unions to establish locations in underserved neighborhoods
  • Encourage the financial institutions to create outreach programs to the community about available lending and savings programs
  • Support partnerships between financial institutions and community organizations that provide financial education and resources to the community and that increase access to loan repayment support for homeowners

Recommendation: Target programs towards financial education, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship with a focus on youth and young adults

Partner with financial institutions and chambers of commerce to ensure equitable financial education, including offering educational resources and workshops in non-traditional locations such as community centers, neighborhood parks, and neighborhood grocery stores. Create and implement strategies that motivate young professionals to establish businesses in West Palm Beach.

  • Work with organizations including houses of worship, fraternities, and sororities to establish a city-funded mentoring program to help adults and youth learn about financial literacy and banking services
  • Address technology equity barriers and disseminate a list of easily accessible resources in the city to the community and increase efforts to inform community members about how to access these resources
  • Launch a campaign targeting upcoming or recent college graduates to live, work, and play in West Palm Beach and launch their careers and businesses in the city
  • Partner with colleges and universities to educate and incentivize upcoming or recent college graduates on the benefits of remaining in West Palm Beach and launching their careers and/or businesses in the city
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