Doing business with
minority owned businesses benefits African,
Hispanic (Latino), or Asian Americans in two ways: obviously the owners are Ethnic
minorities, and typically many of the employees are as well.
Finding minority owned
businesses can be challenging. One excellent source are government
agencies who have programs intended to increase participation of minority owned
businesses in public contracting or procurement. These programs are
typically referred to as Minority Owned Business Enterprise (MBE) programs.
States that receive funding from the federal government (U.S. Department of
Transportation) for highway projects must also maintain a database of certified
Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE), which are similar in definition to MBEs.
Although DBE directories
typically are weighted toward firms in the construction trades, they are still
an excellent source of finding minority owned businesses who provide consumer
and commercial products and services. This is because other government
agencies, transit agencies, trade associations, and even private sector
corporations use the state DBE program for reciprocal certification to ensure
that their business is going to minority owned businesses.