Investor News July 15, 2020

Scale Up CLT, an Alliance Foundation initiative to support Minority-Owned Businesses, featured on

Scale Up CLT is an initiative of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Foundation that accelerates the growth of minority-owned businesses, in partnership with EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) and the City of Charlotte. This scholarship program for diverse businesses is featured on EO’s channel.

Diverse businesses are essential, yet often unrecognized, contributors to vibrant, healthy economies. The Kauffman Foundation’s Research on Race and Entrepreneurship (2016) reports that according to the National Minority Supplier Development Council, racial and ethnic minority businesses produce more than $400 billion in annual revenue and actively employ (directly and indirectly), more than 2.2 million people. Additionally, these businesses contribute approximately $49 billion in local, state, and federal tax revenues and contributing more than $1 billion per day in revenue to the United States.

Despite, their vital contribution to the economy, entrepreneurs of color face a number of challenges when it comes to starting and scaling businesses over the long term. A report by J.P. Morgan Chase, Helping Entrepreneurs of Color Grow Their Businesses (2018) indicates that customized strategies need to be adopted in order to support racial and ethnic minority owned businesses, especially those in high-growth sectors and markets. 

Charlotte Regional Business Alliance analysis of US Census data found Black- and Brown-owned businesses in the Charlotte Region were concentrated in sectors heavily impacted by the economic impact of COVID-19. Black-owned businesses were common in the health care, transportation and food services industries, while Latinx-owned businesses were concentrated in food service and construction.  According to UNC Charlotte Urban Institute research on the racial wealth gap in Mecklenburg County, there are significant disparities between the economic value of Black and Brown-owned companies compared and those that are White-owned. In Mecklenburg County, White-owned enterprises with employees have $37.46 billion in sales, receipts and value compared to $1.07 billion for those that are Black-owned, and $.072 billion for Latinx-owned enterprises.

Between February and April this year, federal data show the number of active small businesses nationwide decreased by more than 20%, since the pandemic has impacted our economy. Closures for Black-owned businesses double the national average at 40% and Latinx businesses have been reduced by 32%.

Against this backdrop, the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Foundation is supporting minority-owned businesses through our Scale Up CLT program. In partnership with EO (Entrepreneurs Magazine) and the City of Charlotte, we are accelerating the growth of diverse businesses in the Charlotte region.

Please see the article that Scale Up CLT is featured in, along with our partners, on EO’s channel: How a Business Accelerator Scholarship Is Fostering Minority Entrepreneurship 

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