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ReMix Ideas of Little Rock is hosting its second annual Black Founders Summit on Wednesday, a virtual event where Black business leaders, elected officials and others will discuss advancing Black businesses and entrepreneurship.
Among this year’s presenters and attendees are State Rep. Vivian Flowers; at-large Little Rock City Director Antwan Phillips; Arkansas Urban League CEO Scott Hamilton; Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation Chief Innovation Officer Cory Anderson; El Dorado Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer and Democratic candidate for governor Chris Jones, the former executive director of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub.
The focus of the forum shifts this year from COVID-19 to creating an environment in which Black-owned Businesses can scale, particularly businesses looking to reach and sustain $1 million in revenue, ReMix founder and CEO Benito Lubazibwa said.
Lubazibwa said discussions will focus on market opportunities, business procurement and access to capital, which has historically been a challenge for Black business owners.
Black-owned businesses will be awarded a share of $65,000 at the summit through a pilot microloan program. ReMix partnered with Forge Community Loan Fund of Huntsville on the program, which Lubazibwa said has awarded nearly $100,000 since it launched in August.
Lubazibwa, who founded ReMix in 2017, will also unveil plans at this year’s summit to publish an annual racial equity index that shows which areas of the state have higher and lower opportunities for minority-owned businesses to work with local municipalities.
“Public spending on private goods and services through contracts can be an important way to foster equitable economic development,” a synopsis released to Arkansas Business says. “Although discrimination is illegal, many procurement policies and processes are not equitable in a way that enables inclusive business participation.”
The goal of the annual report will be to minimize racial inequity and maximize opportunities for minority businesses. It may also guide policymaking and program development.