The report will be part of Prosper’s Black-Owned Business Acceleration Initiative.

Birmingham, AL (1/31/2022) – Transforming Birmingham by creating a more prosperous and equitable future is the motto that serves as the driving force behind Prosper. The coalition of community, civic, and business leaders today is announcing plans to publish an ecosystem report later this spring to shed light on the current state of Black-owned businesses in Birmingham.  

This ecosystem report is one of the four pillars under Prosper’s Black-Owned Business Acceleration initiative. Other areas of the initiative include mentoring, coaching, and neighborhood investment. The report will identify best practices to support the acceleration of Black-owned businesses in Birmingham, understand the full scope of the current ecosystem, and explore opportunities to foster collaborations and partnerships that will help these businesses. 

“We envision a business community in Birmingham where more people have a seat at the table and an opportunity to thrive,” said Key Hudson, Commercial Banking Support Executive for Regions Bank and Prosper Advisory Committee member. “The Black Ecosystem Report represents a crucial next step. While we have a clear vision for a more inclusive future, this report will provide essential data that can help us best allocate our time, talents, and resources toward making a truly meaningful difference for Black-owned businesses. The result will be a more level playing field – one where Black-owned businesses are positioned to grow and succeed while creating generational wealth and inclusive prosperity throughout Birmingham.”  

National community and economic development consulting firm, Fourth Economy, has been contracted to develop the ecosystem report. Ignite Alabama will provide community engagement support during this process and LRY Media Group will manage communications and outreach. Both Ignite Alabama and LRY Media Group are Birmingham-based, Black-owned businesses. Prosper has also established an Advisory Committee that will participate in the report’s development and serve as a connector, advocate, and influencer to propel recommendations based on the report. The committee will serve as champions of the plan and the broader initiative within professional and social networks.  

“It’s refreshing to partner with an organization that is committed to empowering minority- and women-owned businesses by identifying gaps in Birmingham’s current economic landscape,” says Lemar Storey, Owner of Life Touch Massage and Prosper Advisory Committee member. “We are connecting with the community, loving on the businesses with the greatest needs and providing resources, so they not only grow but prosper.” 

“I am extremely proud to see the work that Prosper is doing to not only bring hope to our community and its economy but bring help through its collaborations and network, states Doug Taylor, Executive Director of Rebirth Community Corporation and Prosper Advisory Committee member. “I’m a firm believer that we can never be our best, by ourselves, making community critical to the success and fulfillment of individuals, organizations, communities, and our world.” 

Prosper was launched in summer 2021 and has successfully provided opportunities to create a more equitable and inclusive Birmingham. Since its launch, Prosper has launched a HealthTech Accelerator, powered by gener8tor, that connects cutting-edge health technology startups to coaching, capital, and connections they need to grow their businesses. The organization has partnered with The Alliance to launch Supplier Scale as part of its Business Advisory Services. This initiative will host 20 eligible local small businesses to participate in Prosper’s first small business cohort. The coalition has also launched B-Included, a health and wellness website created by Birmingham startup, Acclinate, to help provide resources to eradicate health barriers to employment. Prosper also serves as a partner and proud supporter of Birmingham Promise, a youth apprenticeship and scholarship program for Birmingham City Schools high school students and graduates that help provide internships and pay for college tuition & fees for up to four years in public Alabama colleges.