Diversity and Inclusion is one of three pillars of the Chamber’s ten-year vision plan that will lead the Chamber to organizational excellence in the year 2026. The “Inclusive Organization” pillar focuses on creating an environment where all feel welcome and a Chamber membership that is reflective of Hillsborough County.

The Minority Business Accelerator is the first program under the “Inclusive Organization” pillar. While it begins to answer the call of increasing the Chamber’s diversity and inclusion, it also helps address some critical needs of the minority business community. The Chamber worked with a Florida-based analytics company to assess the business landscape in Hillsborough County. The overall conclusion of the study revealed that while minority businesses are important contributors to the economic vitality of Hillsborough County, there are glaring disparities prevent minority businesses, specifically Black and Hispanic owned, achieve greater economic equality.

Population Representation

In Hillsborough County, the demographic between minorities and non-minorities is split nearly 1:1.

Hispanics represent the largest segment of the minority population-base (27%), followed by Blacks (17.7%) for a total of 44.7%.

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Source: U.S. Census 2015 American Community Survey

# of Companies

Likewise, minorities own almost the same number of companies as non-minorities in Hillsborough County.

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$ In Revenue

However, minority businesses contribute less than 5% of the total revenue in Hillsborough County.

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Source: US Census 2012 American Survey Applied WEG Study Growth Rate of 29% to derive the number of firms for each segment.

Growth Barriers

This disparity is a result of common growth barriers many minority businesses experience, which limits their ability to flourish and contribute more significantly to the Tampa and Hillsborough County economies. The most common barriers are:

  • Limited access to capital. Many minority businesses have limited personal funds to offset the capital needs of their business and have a tough time generating sustainable income to be used to reinvest in growth.
  • Limited access to key decision makers. Many minority businesses cannot get past “gatekeepers” and gain access to key decision makers that purchase their goods and services.
  • Limited access to information and knowledge. While many minority businesses are experts in their respective fields, they lack the access to information and knowledge to facilitate capacity building and/or business growth.