Having a historically underutilized business(HUB) certification can lead to government contracts, resources, and a support network, according to program participants we interviewed.
The Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Program is specifically designed to advocate and facilitate business growth and provide opportunities for HUBs. The office provides business support programs, information on how to become certified and a registered supplier with the City of Raleigh. Every year MWBE Program host various workshops and seminars and the annual small business expo.
In honor of Black History Month, some HUB-certified business owners shared their experiences and advice for new minority business owners.
Emeka Njoku immigrated from Nigeria to Raleigh in 1999 to start his business, Pacific Trucking Inc. His business started with only one dump truck and has grown to a fleet of 22 dump trucks and he employees 30 people.
“The MWBE Program has benefited me tremendously to grow my business,” said Njoku.
Pacific Trucking is an established company that has secured a number of construction and repair projects with the City over the past 10 years.
“One of the pieces of advice that truly helped me was building trust and relationships, which I believe is more important than short term profit,” said Njoku. “Without these things I followed, I don’t think I’d be where I am today."
HIRE Strategies specializes in job placement of office administration, construction, and manufacturing employees. HIRE Strategies recently sought out assistance from the MWBE program to learn about how to become certified.
“MWBE staff has helped companies find our firm to partner with us; especially when there is a HUB Participation requirement,” said Sonya Hopson.
Hopson said she was inspired to start her own business out of necessity. As a mom, she was looking for a balance between work and being there for her daughters. Her own business allows her flexibility.
"I was blessed to be able to build solid relationships with my client partners through the years and they committed to working with me at my own company. This allowed me to start the business with an established clientele built on a solid reputation, trust and partnerships," Hopson said.
She had this advice for business owners, “Don’t underestimate the value in truly doing something that you love and as a result, the revenue will come.”
Ram-Z Services is a family owned business. The property maintenance company caters to residential and commercial property. Being a family-run business can bring its own unique challenges.
Research, practice, planning, time management, communication, and compartmentalizing are all the activities we divvied ourselves into so we could develop, launch, and run Ram-Z Services LLC. If you every want to start a business, it is important to do what you love with the people you love, said Tony and Shannida Ramsey.
The Ramseys also saw the benefits of the City’s MWBE program support and becoming HUB certified.
“The MWBE program benefited our business by providing resources on city and state contracts, informed us about the importance of a compatibility statement, networking, and accreditation. The program not only has high standards on HUD certified businesses but it also gave us the tools we needed to navigate Raleigh business community,” said Tony T. Ramsey, CEO/Owner.