Minority Businesses More Optimistic this Year Compared to Last Year About their Prospects

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In a survey conducted by the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC) of certified Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), we learned that MBEs are more optimitic about their prospects this year than they were in 2009. The survey showed that when asked to describe their attitude about future business prospects, MBEs this year reported an average score of 5.5 compared to 5.0 last year. A score of 5 represents "barely optimistic" and a score of 6 is "moderately optimistic" on a 7 point scale. The increase in optimism was supported by increases in sales to corporate members of the GNEMSDC in 2010 and increases in employment in 2010 compared to 2009.

The Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council's survey of certified Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) indicated increases in business optimism by certified MBEs in 2010 compared to 2009. On a seven point scale, where 1 represents extremely pessimistic and 7 represents "extremely optimistic", MBEs reported an average score of 5.5 in the 2010 survey compared to the 5.0 reported last year. A score of 5 represented "barely optimistic" and a score of 6 indicated "moderately optimistic".

The improvement in business optimism by MBEs in New England was supported by other findings of the survey. Seventy nine percent (79%) of MBEs reported that they expected to increase their sales to corporate members of the GNEMSDC in 2010 compared to 60 percent last year. Additionally, only 15.6 percent of MBEs expected to reduce their workforce in 2010 compared to 35.4 percent last year. Also the number of MBEs who reported receiving a stimulus related project increased from 3.3 percent in 2009 to 14 percent in 2010. This is perhaps the first hard evidence that the stimulus is starting to reach minority businesses in the region that were particularly hard hit by the recession.

MBEs also reported doing more business with other MBEs, perhaps in response to the slowdown in sales to corporate members in 2009. In 2009, 38 percent of MBEs reported selling products or services to other MBEs compared to 59 percent in 2010. This is a welcome sign, as the GNEMSDC encourages MBEs to develop their business relationships with other MBEs.

Credit conditions appear to be about the same in 2010 as they were in 2009, with 17.7 percent reporting to have applied for a loan and being turned down in 2009 compared to 16.6 percent in 2010. In speaking with a number of MBEs, the issue of getting or extending lines of credit has been a particular challenge for MBEs.

The Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council is the regional affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. The GNEMSDC serves Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The GNEMSDC has 400 certified MBEs who have combined sales of $12. 2 billion. These MBEs employ over 48,000 employees, of whom over 55 percent are minority. There are 250 corporate members of the GNEMSDC. The mission of the GNEMSDC is to significantly increase opportunities for certified MBEs with our corporate membership.

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