MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -A group of businesses and support agencies, known as IGNITE!, want to make sure all Alabama minority business owners and entrepreneurs are counted.
IGNITE! is encouraging the businesses to participate in the statewide count to help them get better access to the things they need.
“The one thing that IGNITE is committed to is connecting business owners throughout the state; minority-owned businesses and also women-owned businesses throughout the state of Alabama. They feel that building bridges is very important to the health, the wellness of minority-owned business,” explained Leavie D. King, a member of IGNITE. “Also it allows these businesses to be in a position to receive funding, of course, to build their capital, also, to put them in a position where if they’re in need of resources, if they’re in need of programming, if they’re in need of any type of assistance, to allow them to be better run better organized, more efficient, more effective, more successful businesses. That is what this count is all about.
To join the statewide count, visit https://www.igniteal.org/counting-us.
King said to be put in a position to take advantage of those services, businesses must be counted. The plan is to use the count’s findings to help government agencies create and allocate financial support.
Businesses can register on IGNITE’s website and be connected with organizations throughout the state of Alabama. King said.
“So, for instance, just to name a few Alabama A&M, Alabama entrepreneurship Institute, the City of Mobile, Mobile Area Black Chamber of Commerce, Regions Bank, Birmingham Development Center, all of these organizations, we’ve come together collectively under IGNITE as one huge coalition,” King said. “So, what they’ve done is they’ve decided to focus on five major cities in the state of Alabama, where those community partners are.
Those five areas include Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa. There are also five rural areas as well, according to King.
“But what we’re doing in each city, we have a smaller correlation in each city, where we’ve come together collectively, to build a procedure to get out and make this count happen,” said King.
IGNITE’s ultimate mission is to keep minority business leaders informed, with a clear understanding of resources available, whether that’s financial, technical, or hands-on help.
These needs, King said, have been especially present since the pandemic began.
“I think that what it has done, it has forced business owners to be more aware of being more prepared,” King added. “I think so many business owners were put in a position where when their businesses came to a stop when they were unable to service customers or have customers, their businesses ended, some businesses went out of business, and some business still struggling trying to hold everything together.
King said what’s important now is to get businesses more knowledge-based and educational based opportunities.
“When they actually are counted, they actually fill out a survey, and that survey tells what their needs are. So, once the data is collected, IGNITE and Stillman College, and Urban Impact would know exactly what these business owners are in need of. So it is bringing awareness to those business owners, making them stronger. It is making them more intellectually efficient as well,” King said.