MONTGOMERY – Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed received the prestigious National Mayor of the Year Award during the 123rd National Black Business Conference presented by Comerica Bank and Amazon. The National Business League, National Black Chamber of Commerce, and World Conference of Mayors Inc. hosted the event which included over 1,000 Black businesses and professionals and featured a keynote speech delivered by Benjamin L. Crump, Esq.
In addition to Mayor Reed, Montgomery-native and iconic Civil Rights Attorney Fred David Gray received the Booker T. Washington Lifetime Achievement Award. Other honorees included:
- Eminent Future, Isaac Barnes honored as the National Black Business of the Year
- Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce, Ayanna Khan, M.S. recognized as the National Black Chamber of the Year
- National Black MBA Association, Shawn M. Cumberbatch-Graham, CPA named as the National Black Organization of the Year
- Atlanta Business League, Leona Barr-Davenport awarded as the National Business League of the Year
- Comerica Bank, Curt Farmer crowned as the National Corporation of the Year
- Clark Atlanta University, George T. French, Jr. deserving winner of the National HBCU of the Year
- Rolling Out Magazine, Munson Steed congratulated for receiving the National Black News and Media Award
- Baw Bab Technolgies, Inc Technology, Inc., honored as the National Pan-African Business of the Year
Creating a more diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem and supporting minority-built businesses has been a priority for Mayor Reed. He implemented strategies to help Black-owned businesses not only survive — but thrive. These programs include a series with the National Urban League, the “Doing Business with Montgomery” Small & Minority Owned Business Initiative and the Builders + Backers Idea Accelerator powered by Heartland Forward. These initiatives led to a 300-plus percentage increase in Black-owned businesses who participate in the municipal contract process.
Through Mayor Reed’s efforts, Montgomery has been heralded as a hub for Black entrepreneurs. The Black Information Network examined research compiled by NerdWallet.com and Overheard on Conference Calls and listed Montgomery as the second-best city in the nation for Black entrepreneurs to start or own a business. With 28.5% of businesses in Montgomery owned by African Americans, Alabama’s Capital City leads all others listed in NerdWallet’s research findings.
Additionally, Mayor Reed increased the City’s partnership with local Black-owned banks and financial institutions by transferring $20 million to Liberty Bank, the largest Black-owned financial institution in the United States. His goal was to help address inequities found across the nation, including in Montgomery.
“In everything we do, our goal is to foster a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Mayor Reed said. “This includes working to close the racial wealth gap by ensuring Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs have access to the capital, capacity and information necessary to not only sustain – but grow – their operations.”
In a recent report entitled “To Expand the Economy, Invest in Black Businesses,” Brookings Institute Senior Fellow Andre Perry reported: “According to the most recent Census Bureau data available, African Americans comprise approximately 14.2% of the U.S. population, but Black businesses comprise only 2.2% of the nation’s 5.7 million employer businesses (firms with more than one employee). If the number of Black businesses matched the population size and the revenue of each of those firms matched non-Black businesses’ revenue, then the total revenue of Black businesses would increase by $5.9 trillion.”
On the eve of his second term, Montgomery’s First Black Mayor continues working on behalf of everyone in the community. A few highlights of the past four years include:
- Montgomery led the state of Alabama in economic development in 2022;
- In the past 15 months, private companies invested a record-setting $1.7 Billion in Montgomery and created 2,000 New Jobs;
- Montgomery was named Top 10 City to Buy a Home by Forbes Magazine;
- Montgomery was named the Second-Best Defense Community in the Nation by American Defense Communities;
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