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Minority local business owners discuss setbacks in the capital

by Stella Morgan

The Office of Economic Vitality (OEV) recently held its 31st Annual Big Bend Minority Enterprise Development Week, bringing together small and minority business owners in the capital to discuss their highlights and challenges in navigating the economic climate. In a broadcast transcript from the event, local business owners shared their thoughts and concerns regarding the current state of the economy.

Dreunna Holland, the owner of Dreunna Latoiya Consulting Firm, highlighted the challenges faced by business owners during the pandemic. She mentioned the financial constraints that hindered the implementation of important projects. This, in turn, affected employee retention and business expansion opportunities. Despite these difficulties, Holland expressed optimism about the potential for growth and the necessity of support for small and minority businesses in the area.

Rita Brown, the owner of Brownsville Preparatory Institute, spoke about the decrease in the number of new businesses in 2022. She speculated that the current economic environment might be a factor contributing to this decline. Brown mentioned her struggle with the restricted real estate market in Tallahassee, which has hindered her plans for expansion. Finding suitable space in the desired location to serve her target audience has become her biggest challenge.

LaTanya Raffington, Senior Coordinator with the Office of Economic Vitality, acknowledged the longevity of small businesses as a significant challenge. However, she expressed confidence in the resilience and determination of local entrepreneurs. Despite the difficulties posed by the present economic climate, Raffington emphasized the presence of many businesses that have successfully thrived for an extended period.

For small and minority business owners seeking assistance, the Office of Economic Vitality recommends reaching out for support. Additionally, Maya Sargent, the journalist covering the event, encourages business owners to share their concerns and hurdles faced in the current climate. She invites entrepreneurs to email her at Maya.Sargent@wtxl.tv to discuss their challenges further.

The insights and experiences shared by business owners during the Big Bend Minority Enterprise Development Week shed light on the realities that small and minority businesses are currently facing. While the pandemic has presented numerous obstacles, the determination and resilience demonstrated by these entrepreneurs offer hope for future growth and success. The Office of Economic Vitality and other organizations play a vital role in providing support and resources for those in need, ensuring that businesses can continue to thrive despite the challenges they encounter.

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