A new report lists Montgomery as one of the best cities in the nation for black entrepreneurs to start a business, after a study earlier this week ranked the Alabama capital second among places where black businesses thrive.
The Black Information Network, a news radio network launched in 2020, highlighted Montgomery among the eight best cities to start a business. He noted the city’s low cost of living as well as the fact that nearly a third of Montgomery’s existing businesses are black-owned.
Other cities highlighted by the report include Washington, DC; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Memphis, TN; Houston, TX; Richmond, Virginia and Durham, North Carolina.
The BIN Report noted a June study by office product review site Overheard On Conference Calls that ranked the Montgomery metro area No. 2 for best climate among 127 cities for Black-owned businesses, behind just the Memphis area, which now has the most black businesses in the nation. The Huntsville metro area ranked fourth in the study, which took into account the number of existing businesses, employees, salaries, income, unemployment rate and cost of home ownership. .
Montgomery has tripled the number of black businesses receiving city contracts, according to the office of Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed.
“In everything we do, our goal is to foster a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Reed said in a statement. “This involves working to close the racial wealth gap by ensuring that Black-owned businesses have access to the capital and capacity needed to not only maintain – but also grow – their operations. It also means ensuring a fairer procurement and contracting process.”
Reed also announced that the city will transfer about $20 million to an existing account with Black-owned Liberty Bank, which will now handle significantly more of the city’s money. Reed’s office said the goal was to expand the bank’s resources and enable it to help reach more black businesses.
“Capital barriers have long played a significant role in the lifespan of black businesses,” said Reed, who is Montgomery’s first black mayor. “We must use every instrument at our disposal to address these issues, many of which stem from systemic barriers. Black-owned banks can be the primary sources of loans for Black entrepreneurs across the country, so it behooves us to associate ourselves with them.”
Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Brad Harper at [email protected]