WELCOME to BEAMW
Join the Business Ecosystem Alliance for Minorities & Women in supporting Houston’s diverse businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs!
In 2018-2019, former Houston City Council Member Amanda Edwards formed the City of Houston Women- & Minority-Owned Business Task Force to address the disparities that minority and women entrepreneurs face when attempting to access capital and scale their businesses.
Under the leadership of Council Member Edwards and Co-Chairs Courtney Johnson Rose and Carolyn Rodz, the Task Force engaged diverse business support organizations, chambers of commerce, academic and research institutions, incubators and accelerators, entrepreneurs, investors, funders, small business advocates and other stakeholders in a series of discussions to identify the gaps affecting the profitability and sustainability of Houston minority and women-owned businesses, and to develop evidence and experience based recommendations on how to address those gaps.
To ensure that Houston’s minority- and women-owned businesses would receive critical support and resources through the implementation of the report’s recommendations, the members of the Task Force decided to continue this work, bringing entrepreneurs, investors, chambers of commerce, business support organizations and small business advocates together to form the Business Ecosystem Alliance for Minorities and Women (BEAMW).
BEAMW began activating its members through the formation of working groups in 2020, and elected Impact Hub Houston to serve as fiscal agent for its fundraising activities. All funds will help BEAMW member organizations deliver direct services and support to minority- and women-owned businesses.
WE AIM TO SERVE MINORITY & WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS’ MOST CRITICAL NEEDS, INCLUDING:
- Coordination and Navigation: Help MWBEs understand and navigate the support ecosystem.
- In-Depth Services: Help Business Support Organizations (BSOs) directly serve MWBEs.
- Personal Networks: Connect diverse business owners with potential customers and investors.
- Financial Preparedness: Ensure MWBEs have the business and financial planning tools/skills needed to access financing and new markets.
- Personal Credit: Offer credit-building services to diverse founders and entrepreneurs.
- Alternative and Innovative Capital: Increase the volume of and access to alternative and innovative capital, creating incentives for partnerships between lenders and other sources.
- Microloans: Meet businesses’ needs for smaller funding at critical stages.
Despite Houston’s strengths, barriers and disparities continue to prevent minorities and women from fully participating in wealth-building through business ownership. When these barriers are removed, significant advances emerge in wealth creation and economic mobility for minorities and women through small business ownership. It is not enough to state that Houston is the most diverse city in the country; we must also be the city that solves the challenges our diverse communities face. Through BEAMW’s efforts, we are taking a substantial step forward with combatting these challenges.