Next Street has been on a journey to promote diversity, equity and inclusion since our founding. Through our external work, we have helped companies develop equity initiatives, created diverse supplier programs for multiple public and private institutions, and helped shape policies that create opportunities for communities of color through our whitepapers and small business ecosystem research. Over the last few years, we have also done the internal work to develop an Inclusive Impact Committee, with racial equity at its core. We are proud of the progress that we’ve made and the work that we’ve done to foster racial equity. However, recent events have confirmed that our work is only beginning and that we need to do more to support our employees, our clients and the communities of color we serve. Read the rest of our statement on being an Anti-Racist Institution here.
Next Street is still early in its commitment to being an anti-racist organization and we are always learning, but we are excited to share our early stage commitments towards our anti-racist agenda.
To date, we have implemented the following changes:
- Launched an Inclusive Impact Committee, which has released a resource guide on common language and definitions and launched channels for anonymous feedback
- Announced that all Next Street Employees will receive two days off to volunteer to combat racial inequity
- Announced that all Next Street employees will receive anti-bias and anti-racist training through an Anti-racism Organizing & Training firm
Going forward, we will hold ourselves accountable to the following additional commitments:
- Through a third-party firm and an internal audit, Next Street will complete a thorough audit of the firm’s practices, suppliers, and communications
- Next Street will direct more spend and commit more resources to People of Color
- Next Street will deliver grants to BIPOC-owned businesses using 5% of profits
- We will make our offices representative our anti-racist commitment, including expanding the racial, gender, and experiential diversity of our current Board of Managers
Our commitment does not end here. We will continue to evaluate and update our initiatives.
Over the years, Next Street has worked with thought-leading organizations that are breaking down barriers to create a more inclusive economy. Here is a sampling of our work that has included a racial equity lens. To learn more about any of these projects or others in our portfolio, please contact us.
Developed a racial equity agenda to support two business lines in driving more equitable social impact
Created a business plan for a new organization that would create pathways for Chicago’s workers of color to enter the construction industry and enable opportunity for Chicago’s minority-owned construction businesses
Worked with South Side Chicago stakeholders to understand neighborhood-level planning efforts and ensure that development surrounding the Obama Presidential Center benefits local residents
Supported the Business Equity Initiative, a $10 million commitment to driving the growth of enterprises of color
Conducted a procurement assessment and developed and delivered a training program to support high-potential diverse suppliers
Conducted a small business ecosystem assessment and made recommendations on how the City can support Columbus’ small businesses, particularly those owned by women and People of Color – read the report here
Developed a plan to launch four Economic Mobility Centers in Tarrant County, TX that support entrepreneurs of color and their families
Racial Equity Resources
Our team is always learning. We’d like to share some of the resources we’ve gathered related to racial equity and small business. While no list is exhaustive and the learning process is continuous, we hope this list can provide additional perspectives for how racism affects the small business community.
- Black Wall Street: The African American Haven That Burned and Then Rose From the Ashes
- American Capitalism Is Brutal. You Can Trace That to the Plantation.
- Kauffman Compilation: Research on Race and Entrepreneurship
- Why It’s So Hard to Invest in Black Neighborhoods
- This Is What Racism Sounds Like in the Banking Industry
- Being a black small-business owner and buying into the stereotypes
- COVID-19’s effect on minority-owned small businesses in the United States
- Support small businesses owned by people of color; use resources like WeBuyBlack, The Black Wallet, and Official Black Wall Street to find local places to shop
- Educate yourself and talk about anti-racism with your family, friends and colleagues – be uncomfortable
- Make your anti-racism commitment publicly available and proactively communicate it to local leaders
- VOTE! We now see the power of local officials to act or not to act; your voice matters in supporting the right candidates at every level of government that have a pronounced anti-racism platform. Check out and call your candidates to demand that their platforms include anti-racism measures
- Donate to organizations that are fighting for racial justice every day: Color of Change, Black Lives Matter, Showing Up for Racial Justice, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Legal Defense Fund, UntilFreedom, Southern Poverty Law Center, National Urban League, and more
- Become a certified Minority Owned Business to help win government contracts
- WENYC is dedicated to help Black & Latino Women to start and grow their business by connecting them with financing, mentors, and investors
- Crossroads Antiracism Organization & Training is an organization that provides resources to combat racism in the workplace
- The Minority Business Development Agency is part of the U.S Department of Commerce, specifically created to encourage the creation, growth, and expansion of minority owned businesses in the US
- The National Black Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining black communities through entrepreneurship
- The National Minority Supplier Development Council offers programs and resources