Minority-owned businesses receive over $16,000 in grants

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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) – The Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber Foundation connection is how some minority-owned small businesses received the Shine a Light grant.

The chamber partnered with Mississippi Power to award businesses $1,000 in assistance.

Tori Bishop and Kerri Paul are co-owners of Gulf Coast Mom. Paul also owns Brick and Spoon.

“I appreciate the portrayal of being able to show other young black people that they too can own a business one day, that they can achieve their dreams,” Paul said.

Paul said it was hard enough juggling two businesses at once, but she says her skin color adds to that as well.

“Locating resources and finding information can often be a challenge, especially for people of color,” Paul said.

Mississippi Power Foundation executive director Steven Dick said he appreciates contractors who view the organization as a trusted resource.

“Small businesses in general are the engine of the economy, but they help small minority businesses that may not be able to access capital. Anything we can do to help these businesses grow any businesses we can to improve the economy on the coast,” Dick said.

Bishop said confidence and self-esteem are the first steps to success.

“You have to believe in yourself first before someone else believes in you, it starts with you. If you don’t have a good foundation when you go to a market where people are called 20 to 30 times a day you have to come in with that confidence to stand out and believe in yourself to get that person to believe in you,” Bishop said.

Paul encourages people to shoot for their dreams.

She said you need to let go of your fears and do your homework on your industry.

“Go out and prepare, study, hire consultants. Do whatever you need to do to improve your business and publicize your business.

16 local businesses received the grant money.

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