January 15

Greensboro program helps minority-owned businesses


GREENSBORO, N.C. — Small businesses drive our community. Some business owners walked into their business journey with knowledge and connections that gave them a leg up. For many, especially minority-owned businesses, the journey can be tougher. 

Cornelious “CC” Lamberth Jr. started C2 Contractors 25 years ago. 

“Every time you see a computer on a desktop, it’s connected to a network that is hardwired, it goes back to a physical location or main distribution frame. We design that system,” he said.

“The first is financing,” Lamberth said. “We have to under normal circumstances bootstrap any business that we go into because we don’t have someone — that bank that will lend to minority-owned businesses.”

They say another challenge is access to potential clients who typically do business with people they already know. CC Lamberth calls this “like-ism.”

That’s where the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce Minority Business Accelerator comes in.

“One of the things we see with our Black-owned businesses is that in terms of the capital continuum, they lack the friends and family capital aspect and that is because those families have less wealth based on a number of systemic things,” Vice President for Leadership, Diversity, and Inclusion Nikita Greene said.

She says the MBA helps foster relationships between minority-owned businesses and larger companies. 

“What we’ve done over those three years is provide those connections and opportunities that our minority-owned businesses might not have otherwise had access to,” Greene said.  

Foster tells FOX8 he’s called some local companies for years with no response, until the MBA stepped in. 

“So they make those introductions. And then at the end of the day, we have to sell ourselves. But without the introduction, we’re just kind of talking making noise, and no one’s listening. So the MBA, got others to listen to our story. And come take a look at what we have to offer,” he said.

“I need an advocate I need someone else that can tell my story,” Lamberth said. “So if you have folks like the Greensboro chamber who know every business in the city, when a business asks if they know someone that can provide this service, and you’re the advocate for them, guess what? You have a sales force on the street that doesn’t look like you but knows everything about you.” 

Core’s client list includes BMW, pharmaceutical giant Merck and now HAECO and Honda Jet thanks to the MBA. 

C2 is working on the new engineering building at North Carolina A&T State University, and they landed a contract to work on Cone Health’s new clinic in east Greensboro. They agree that this kind of effort to create an inclusive business community that affords opportunities for everyone is good for everyone.


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