BE Green South Sound's Blog

Jan. 18, 2011 at 5:13pm

Report: Minority-and Women-owned Businesses in Washington’s Green Economy


From
the Preface: Washington State likes green. Whether gauged by the number of festivals, events and workshops on the "Green Economy," courses offered at institutions of higher learning, the abundance of locally and sustainably grown food, green buildings, hybrid car ownership or the use of bicycles, Washington, it seems, is ripe for the emerging era of Green. As the state of Washington embraces the greening of the economy, it is important not to leave behind the often-neglected segments of the economic area - the historically underrepresented MWBEs and small business in general.

In Washington State, people of color make up 21.7% of the population but own only 10.85% of businesses representing only 6.24% of the states' business revenues. Women-owned businesses (51% or more owned by women) make up 46% of privately owned businesses in Washington but only 31% of the business revenues in the state. The under-representation of people of color in business communities has implications beyond communities of color. Minority business owners tend to employ other people of color at a higher rate than non-minority-owned firms. Given that unemployment rates for African American, Latino, and Native Americans are typically at least 1.5 to 2.0 times that of Caucasians2, growing employment opportunities for individuals in these racial and ethnic groups is vital to the state's future economic wellbeing. Thus, minority- and women business participation in the Green Economy is critical not only to the wealth accumulation of the individual business and communities of color but to the state as a whole.

The nascent state of the market for green products and services and the relatively broad range of businesses that can participate in this market provides a unique opportunity for minority- and women-owned businesses to achieve economic parity. Our research, commissioned by the Washington State Legislature (HB 2815) is hence aimed at identifying and developing policy recommendations to overcoming barriers faced by minority- and women-owned businesses and identifying opportunities for their successful participation in the Green Economy. In this report, we begin by assessing the current rate of participation in the Green Economy by small businesses and MWBEs, paying close attention to any differences between MWBEs and other businesses. Based on this assessment, we develop specific policy recommendations.


Download the full report

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Sustainability isn't a trend anymore. It's basic business. It's the next great phase of economic evolution. And while many companies are cashing in on sustainable business trends, it's not enough to just talk green and look green. Businesses have to BE Green.

Like many business people, you may be intrigued by sustainability. You may be enticed by the savings offered by lean operations. You may want to know why your clients or customers are spending their money on green products and services. Maybe you want to save the planet. Maybe you plan to start small, and see where it goes from there.

Whatever compels you, the BE Green South Sound Blog will provide you with all the tools, information, free and low-costs resources, connections, and inspiration needed to propel your own sustainable business initiatives.

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Whatever you're interested in learning or achieving, we're going to help you make sense of it all. Be Green. It's easier than you think.

January 31 at the Greater Tacoma Trade and Convention Center

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