Awards increase by 45 percent for female minorities who own businesses.
By Elena Longoria
The city of San Antonio is awarding more money to small businesses owned by African-Americans and women, the city’s Small Business Advocacy Committee discussed Friday.
Michael Sindon, assistant director for the Small Business Advocacy Committee, talked about the change in amounts awarded to African-American business owners from 2015 to 2016.
African-American-owned businesses received no awards from the city in 2015.
“Quite frankly, it’s an embarrassment and something we don’t want,” Sindon said at the committee’s monthly meeting at the Frost Bank building downtown.
In this fiscal year the percentage of awards given to African-American-owned businesses has significantly increased. So far, the city has awarded them $1.6 million, which makes up 17 percent of the total funds awarded this fiscal year.
For businesses owned by women in minority groups, the total funds awarded have increased from 2 percent in 2015 to 47 percent this fiscal year, allowing women to grow their businesses and provide services to the city of San Antonio.
“We’ve made great gains for minority women-owned businesses,” Sindon said.
Sindon said many people call him, saying they believe the percentages are so high because there are not that many women in businesses or not many women are getting helped.
“No, it is not true. In fact, 47 percent of women in businesses is made up of 493 local businesses owned by women,” Sindon said.
“This has been our best fiscal year,” Sindon said.
Committee members also voted unanimously to elect a local newspaper publisher to the committee.
Christopher Herring, the mayoral for the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce, called for a motion to add a new member to the committee.
Stephanie Zarrielo, the owner of San Antonio Observer newspaper, signed up to be considered as a new member of the committee.
At least one member of the committee expressed concern since Zarrielo is the owner of a newspaper.
Anne-Marie Grube, director of new business development at Northwestern Mutual, expressed concern directly to Herring.
“Is she going to be writing about us?” Grube asked.
“No, she is not here for that,” Herring said.
“It is public information anyways,” Sindon said.
“I was just making sure,” Grube said.
Zarrielo will be joining the next meeting, which hasn’t been scheduled.
Amanda Reyna, economic development coordinator, reviewed upcoming events such as the Small Business Festival May 1-5 with various locations throughout the city. She also announced a VIA Metropolitan Transit event: A Portal for Diverse Opportunities from 4-6 p.m. May 11. The location has not yet been determined.
The Small Business Advocacy Committee is a group of citizens appointed by the mayor and the city council to advise on issues affecting small businesses in the San Antonio area.
The committee is made up of 11 members.
The SBAC meetings are held at 3 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month at the offices of the economic development department, located on the 19th floor of the Frost Bank Tower, 100 W. Houston St. Meetings are open to the public.
For more information, visit SanAntonio.gov/SBO.