Supporting Black Entrepreneurship with an Agile Approach

Breakthrough Marketing Technology was asked to recommend programs that will support the growth of New York City Black entrepreneurs and business owners, as well as to define programs that will encourage, guide, and support Black people considering entrepreneurship to take the leap. In the process of delivering on that contract with the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Black Entrepreneurship Initiative, we shared our approach with the subject matter experts in the field, individual Black entrepreneurs, and business owners we’ve interviewed.

It is as part of that work that we are conducting a survey. Before designing a survey, we ask the customers or constituents our clients care about for their perspective in qualitative interviews. In this case, the survey validates what we have heard in interviews with Black entrepreneurs, business owners, and subject matter experts.

Our survey designs collect demographic information like type of business, location of business headquarters, and years in operation, and behavioral data that identifies organizations to which business owners go for help. We also capture psychographics in the form of the motivations to start the business and outcomes that tell us the aspirations a business owner hopes to fulfill.

Together with our Agile approach to product development — incremental testing of offering elements with end users in the form of concepts for possible programs – the survey’s design will enable us to learn what and why specific program elements will meet the needs of current Black entrepreneurs, as well as the needs of those considering a future of entrepreneurship, to help them grow or start their businesses.

new offering development processThe external market intelligence we capture leads to internal business transformation. We advocate more than revising or creating new internal processes and offerings based on what can be done. Instead, our recommendations are always defined by what will motivate the marketplace to engage with or adopt the new product or service the business will deliver. In this case, our recommendations will include new programs delivered in the way Black entrepreneurs want and need them.

Survey responses from entrepreneurs and business owners, both in New York City and outside of the five boroughs, will improve the predictability of our analytics. We are looking for data from entrepreneurs and business owners beyond those with brick and mortar businesses that are most visible. Responses from business owners outside of NYC will become part of our control cohort data, as will data from NYC business owners of other ethnicities and races.

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