Small businesses: Help make it count!

make an impact on Election Day

It goes without saying the midterm elections is a pretty big deal for our country right now. And according to Business News Daily, small businesses are impacted in the outcomes due to potential for economic growth, tax policies, healthcare policies and more. While things look to be on the up and up for small businesses in general, minority small business owners are especially dependent on local support for quality loan programs, bid opportunities and access to capital.

In the meantime, business owners and supervisors can help others perform their civic duty on election day this Tuesday by providing their employees time to vote. Consider opening a little later, offer some flex time, schedule voting breaks, give them the day off — however you can make it work.

FYI: Uber and Lyft have announced free rides to the polls, making it even easier for people to make their votes count. Join the movement!

CELEBRATING National Women’s Small Business Month



As we observe National Women’s Small Business Month this October, let’s not forget the contributions and growth of Black-owned women’s small business in our communities. Especially in the Mid-south!

UPDATE (MAY 5, 2019): Check out Bankrate’s guide to help female entrepreneurs overcome challenges such as lack of funding, resources, and revenue. And we understand that there are still barriers that exist for women of color in business, even in the wonderful list of resources provided by Bankrate, but consider this a good starting place as we advocate and look for more ways to meet intersectional challenges in business head on.


The Women's Business Enterprise National Council reports, “According to the latest American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses report, the growth of women-owned businesses continues at a rapid pace. Four out of 10 business in the U.S. are now owned by women, and the total number of women-owned businesses (12.3 million!) has increased by 58 percent since 2007. In fact, in the last year, 1,821 new women-owned business opened each day…Today, 93 percent of women-owned businesses generate less than $250k in revenue.”

And of those numbers, Black women accounted for 2,402,600 or 20% of all women-owned businesses. Their annual rate of growth at 9% was the same annual growth rate as the period between 2007 and 2018 but the gap between African American women-owned businesses’ average revenue and all women-owned businesses is the greatest — even as they made up the largest segment of women-owned businesses after non-minority women.

One of the best ways you can celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month this year? Support a black and woman-owned business! And keep it up all year. Support comes in many forms:

  • Lend some savvy business advice — If it’s asked for, of course!

  • Consider donating to help out — When we’re just getting our business started, every little bit counts!

  • Purchase from her business and/or spread the word (social media and word of mouth)

  • Offer emotional support as well


Driven to succeed in the trucking industry: Meet Niki Brown

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Meet the woman behind Express Logistics and the upcoming full-day training “From Driver to CEO” — a dynamic event that asks:

Who's driving your business while you're driving your truck?”

Niki Brown wears many hats: Entrepreneur, coach, mentor, and public speaker — all in the transportation and financial services industries. She and her husband operate their own trucking company, founded in 2004. 

In an effort to help drivers transition in becoming business owners and offer added value to her customers, Brown began offering consulting services in the areas of transportation and logistics, business development and business credit.  She is also an Independent Business Owner with Financial Education Services where she currently serves as a Regional Sales Director.

Brown focuses on educating both consumers and business owners about financial literacy as well as the importance and benefits of having a favorable credit score to succeed in life and business. Besides spending time building and growing her companies, Niki enjoys spending time with her husband, four children and three grandchildren.

Interested in learning how to manage your own trucking business? Want to know what it takes to be a Freight Broker? Let Niki Brown lead the way! Her company is currently offering a full-day training session to show you the ropes, this Saturday, September 15 from 8am - 5pm.

Visit for more details!

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Top reasons you should certify your small biz


Is your business certified?

The City of Memphis Office of Business Diversity & Compliance offers free certification for small, minority/diverse, and women-owned businesses. If you are reading this newsletter, you are likely eligible for certification!

So why wait? Learn some of the benefits, and open yourself to the possibilities that come from official certification with the city.

Benefit #1:

Certified small, minority/diverse and women owned businesses have increased access to information and training, and more opportunities to win city contracts. Certification gives a leg up to small businesses working in the private sector as well!

Benefit #2:

Free certification through the Office for Business Diversity and Compliance helps eliminate barriers to doing business with the City of Memphis.

Benefit #3:

Certified businesses are always up-to-date on the latest required skills, capacity and qualifications to perform the job.

Benefit #4:

Certification can add money to your bottom line by increasing marketing opportunities. How so? The marketing edge will help you attract more clients, big or small!

Introducing our new Chief Visionary Officer, Mark Yates!

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The Black Business Association of Memphis is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Yates as Chief Visionary Officer. Yates brings a wealth of business knowledge, strategy and know-how to the organization with a passion for helping Memphis' minority small businesses thrive.

In his new position, Yates will provide the vision and effective leadership necessary to help re-engineer the organization, enhance the BBA membership experience and make a greater economic impact on the community at large. 

Yates has extensive experience in the financial sector, healthcare industry, and public policy. In recent years, he has served as Program Manager for All World Project Management, founded Memphis Youth Summer Business Experience (MY-SBE), and provided services to the Enlightenment Center and LES mental health outpatient care for children and families. 

Yates has a B.A. in Economics and Finance from Howard University and an Executive MBA from Owen Graduate School of Business at Vanderbilt University. In Memphis, he has served as Chief of Staff and Faculty at LeMoyne Owen College; Former Chief of Staff in the U.S. House of Representatives; Senior Vice President at FTN Financial and First Tennessee Bank, among other prestigious roles at organizations throughout the city. 

Help us welcome Mark Yates to the BBA Memphis team!