Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “if you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” It’s no secret that the past couple of years have taken a toll on travel businesses of all types and sizes, but a survey conducted by Small Business Majority discovered a disproportionate impact on business owners of color, particularly Black, Latino and Asian American/Pacific Islander entrepreneurs who already face systematic barriers to accessing business and financial resources, as Forbes reported in Small Business Owners of Color Continue to Face Challenges.
While the challenges are great, and the obstacles many, in the spirit of moving forward, we couldn’t think of a better way to honor MLK Day than to share resources that can help you launch or expand your minority owned tour, attraction, or activity business.
To help us get started on the right foot, we reached out to one of our partners, Natasha Baker-Williams. Natasha appeared on the Awkward Watersports Guys Podcast to discuss women in watersports with our VP of Supply, Rachel Dickey, and is the owner and founder of Sup Pup Fort Lauderdale. We asked her what resources she used to help get her business started. Natasha told us that one of the most valuable resources she discovered and utilized during her first few years in business, was finding a business mentor through SCORE.
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SCORE is an organization that provides business mentors to entrepreneurs and business owners of all types and at all stages, and it is the largest volunteer business mentor network in the nation. In addition to providing great mentors, SCORE also has a variety of resources on its website including this list of 9 Resources to Help Black Business Owners. The great thing about SCORE is that it is so large you can usually find a mentor in your area, which also helps you expand your network.
Travel industry folks might also be able to find mentors and resources by reaching out to their local CVB, here are five ways your local CVB might be able to help you grow your travel business. Be sure to ask them if they know of any local organization in your area that might be able to assist you in finding a mentor, accessing micro loans, or other resources you may need to start or expand your business.
Supporting other Minority Owned Businesses
In addition to finding mentors, whether it be through SCORE or your own network, seeking out and supporting other minority owned businesses both to patron and to network with, can also be very helpful. Natasha worked closely with Social Blessings LLC, who helped launch her social media and marketing strategies.
There are also groups like Black Owned Everything, which is an organization that promotes blacked owned businesses through a variety of marketing channels. You can also find great resources in this Holiday Gift Guide from the Small Business Majority, and their site is rich with lots of other useful resources as well.
In the end, one of the best things you can do to grow your business is to build your support network. Stay tuned next month, as we celebrate Black History Month by offering more resources and stories from our partners.