The Institute Blog

The Latest News in Economic Development

Hurry Up and Stop Waiting

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From an early age, it’s often taught that patience is a virtue; but patience is actually a skill that must be learned because naturally most people do not like waiting for things to happen. Although it is a good thing to learn the skill of patience for business growth and development, it is also good to learn how to eliminate unnecessary waiting frequently encountered by employees and customers. In fact, unnecessary waiting is a key source of waste and loss in many organizations’ business processes and ultimately in their success.

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How Safe Is Your Company?

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When is the last time you performed an assessment on the safety and security of your company? Not necessarily the locks on the door, or the alarm system; but rather, the firewalls to your business website and cyber-security features that protect private and sensitive customer information.

In August 2015, headlines circulated around the world regarding the data breach from Internet hackers who breached the confidential files of clients for Ashley Madison, an online dating site for individuals seeking extramarital affairs. The secretive, personal nature of the business—and the fact that customers were required to enter credit card information—made it doubly susceptible to attack. In several anonymous media statements, the self-described hackers noted that they targeted Ashley Madison because they believed the entire business model was, “a scam.” However, even companies with less questionable services may be targeted because of the mounds of valuable data collected on a daily basis.

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Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation awards $100,000 to the N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and The Institute logos

One-year grant to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the state

Durham, NC (August 6, 2015) – Trustees of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation have awarded a grant to the N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development (The Institute) as it develops a comprehensive strategy aimed at strengthening North Carolina’s accredited Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

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Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?

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“We believe that most entrepreneurs are born… and then made better,” said Farad Ali, president and CEO of The Institute. “Whether someone is starting a business or expanding a business, The Institute has a program or service in place that can assist in honing their skill set and enhancing their opportunities for success. Our role in this space is to support minority-owned firms as they contribute to the U.S. economy, strengthen local communities, and support greater job creation.”

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The Business of Politics

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More than a year in advance of November 2016, and the election cycle is already upon us.

As of July 2015, there were at least 16 high-profile Republican candidates who had already declared their intentions to run for our nation’s highest office. Add in some of the lesser-known individuals, and that total is closer to 30. On the Democratic side, fewer candidates have thrown their hats into the ring – but with no less fervor.

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Time is Money

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The Institute encourages entrepreneurs and business professionals to explore its business development options, programs and services, which can help provide greater access to capital, contracts, and markets for minority-owned businesses – and to discover more useful investments of their time. The argument can be made on a daily basis for apparent disparities within the minority business community in terms of access and opportunity. However, the one place where there is equality is time – and how busy professionals and successful business owners make use of it. In essence, money is money; but time is money too.

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National DBE Program Manager to Keynote Hispanic Contractors Conference

Photo of Martha Kenley, FHWA National DBE Program Manager

The Institute is a longtime supporter of the Hispanic Contractors Association of the Carolinas (HCAC), which recently announced that Federal Highway Administration National DBE Program Manager Martha Kenley will provide the keynote address at its 2015 HCAC Conference and Brilliance Awards. In addition to offering business development training and support for HCAC members, The Institute also exhibits with the organization during various conference activities and special events.

Guest speaker Kenley is responsible for developing policies and advises state transportation agencies, such as NCDOT, on all DBE program areas; works with the U.S. Department of Transportation on drafting and reviewing regulations; and advances national program initiatives. Kenley will attend the conference event traveling from her office at FHWA’s Headquarters office in Washington, DC.

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The Institute MBC Client Gloria Shealey Inducted into NAMC Hall of Fame

Photo of Gloria Shealey presenting at 2015 NAMC Annual Meeting

Gloria Shealey, President & CEO of The Daniele Company was inducted into the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) Hall of Fame last Friday, June 19 at the organization’s Annual Meeting and Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. This award is presented annually by NAMC to honor members of the organization who have provided exemplary service to NAMC while simultaneously operating a successful business in the construction industry. Shealey has been a long-standing client and partner of The Institute’s Minority Business Center since locating her business in downtown Durham over a decade ago.

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Institute CEO Leads Policy Discussion at AMAC Conference

(Far left) Farad Ali served as moderator of the AMAC Legislative Panel on June 14th

Advancing opportunities for diverse businesses is a hallmark of The Institute’s mission and focus. To this end, Institute President & CEO Farad Ali is actively engaged in the aviation industry with efforts to increase business opportunities for disadvantaged business enterprises both in North Carolina and across the United States. Ali’s work as a board member for the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority and the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) makes him a frequently-sought thought leader for inclusion in the aviation industry. Ali also heads AMAC’s Legislative Committee.

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