To grow economy: diversity, inclusion



When it comes to taking care of business, the Florida Advisory Council on Small and Minority Business Development noted in an annual report that persistence, perseverance and simply doing the right thing are magic bullets for progress. Absent among the named magic bullets was budget.

Yet, as a resourceful, knowledgeable group, the council relies upon its members, constituent networks, professional volunteers and the Florida Department of Management Services (DMS). The council aims for state leaders to make sure that business inclusion is a part of all economic development efforts statewide.

The council’s distinct powers and duties are in Florida’s law books, which articulate that the group advises and assists the secretary of (DMS) in carrying out the secretary’s duties with respect to small and minority businesses as well as economic and business development.

Council duties include researching small and minority business roles in the state’s economy; reviewing emerging topics relating to small and minority business/economic development; studying the ability of financial markets and institutions to meet small business credit needs and ensuing impact of government demands; assessing the implementation of the state’s economic development comprehensive plan from the standpoint of inclusion; assessing the reasonableness and effectiveness of state agencies’ efforts to assist minority business enterprises; and advising executive leadership, including the governor, on matters relating to small and minority business development, which are important to international strategic planning and activities of this state.

With vim and vigor, the council supports infusing Florida’s economic development initiatives with a diversity and inclusion paradigm. Notably, this group comprises supplier diversity practitioners, laypersons, financiers, entrepreneurs and people with business development expertise and select nontraditional stakeholders whose views and recommendations are mutually beneficial.

The council’s vision is principled delivery of products, goods and services needed by state agencies and quasi-state entities for a more vibrantly inclusive Florida.

Towards this end are five recommendations that can spur business growth and job creation in Florida’s race and gender neutral business landscape:

•  Establish a Direct Support Organization to implement the mission of the Secretary of DMS in support of small and minority businesses per statute;

•  Align legislation and policy, considering current political and business climate, for optimal relevancy, credibility and accountability with business inclusion principles and paradigm with respect to procurement, capital needs of small businesses, access to the marketplace, economic development and job creation;

•  Support Florida’s microenterprises as part of the small business economic development continuum;

•  Create equity capital opportunities for small businesses through tools considered non-traditional such as private placement memoranda, capital formation and business incentives;

•  Monitor Enterprise Florida, Inc.’s (EFI) capital programs utilization through a business inclusion lens.

Further, the recent U.S. Chamber’s Enterprising Report cites a National Governors Association survey of entrepreneurs that suggested five critical factors state government can influence to foster small business start-ups and expansions: Diversity in sources of capital; an enabling culture; strong local networks; supportive infrastructure; and entrepreneur-friendly government.

Florida can do this.

In furtherance of business inclusion, the council is one of six organizations partnering with EFI to improve access to capital, access to the marketplace and enhance EFI’s responsiveness to small and minority business development issues. The others are the Florida Association of Minority Business Enterprise Officials, Florida Coalition for Microenterprise Development, Florida Consortium of Black Businesses, Hispanic Business Initiative Fund and Southern Florida Minority Supplier Diversity Council.

Cheryl S. Gonzalez is chair of the Florida Advisory Council on Small and Minority Business Development and director, Equal Opportunity and Diversity, University of North Florida.

Read more Other Views stories from the Miami Herald



    We can’t delay the fight against sea-level rise

    Regardless of its cause, sea-level rise is the inevitable, non-debatable consequence of the warming of the oceans and the melting of the planet’s ice sheets. It is a measurable, trackable and relentless reality. Without innovative adaptive capital planning, it will threaten trillions of dollars of the region’s built environment, our future water supply, unique natural resources, agricultural soils and basic economy.

American jihadist Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, who eventually burned his passport, died in May after blowing up a truck in Syria.


    White House should release 9/11 documents

    The death of American jihadist Douglas McArthur McCain in Syria raised few eyebrows. It is no secret that there are about 7,000 foreigners fighting alongside the terrorists known as the Islamic State of Islam (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq, of which perhaps 150 to 300 are American.



    Jihadis forcing the U.S. to support its enemy Assad

    History is moving to give us an answer to one of the great foreign-policy debates of this decade. President Obama has time and time again dismissed the argument, repeated recently by Hillary Clinton, that the United States should have taken a more-assertive stance to affect the course of the civil war in Syria. Clinton, who as Obama’s secretary of state argued that Washington should give more material support for moderate rebels, says a decision to intervene could have prevented the current calamity.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category