September 2020

A word from Kathy Payton, CEO of Fifth Ward CRC in Houston, Texas

For fifth Ward CRC  (in Houston, TX),  Small Business and Economic Development exist to foster our community’s economy by attracting investment that generates job and entrepreneurial opportunities; eliminates barriers to building wealth,  supports income and asset building; preserves local businesses, and recently attracting new business and retail development. Small Business and Economic development directly influences our ability to redevelop the community and are parallel to our real estate line of business.  Houses come with people, people come with pockets, pockets yield investment and support commercial and retail opportunities.  Accordingly a healthy community is balanced between resident and businesses (both large and small).

More than 1,600 businesses are in the greater 5th Ward area representing various industries.  In 2018, the Fifth Ward Chamber of Commerce was officially launched. FIFTH WARD CRC’s expanding role in economic development created new opportunities for meaningful impact in 5th Ward. When vendor opportunities are made available, FIFTH WARD CRC sees  enthusiastic participation by local entrepreneurs. Several of our pop-up vendors go on to take part in our other services.

5th Ward businesses need two things – better business skills and increased access to capital. Small businesses dominate the local economy, which often have no or informal business models, very little specialized staff, and little capacity to understand their competition or the changing business environment in a gentrifying neighborhood. Further, small businesses – especially those run by owners of color – traditionally lack access to critical opportunities for growth, including access to capital and opportunities to compete for contracts.

In light of the pandemic, many of our small businesses are suffering and without support. The future for them is very uncertain and many unfortunately will not recover or reopen.    We are committed to identifying opportunities and resources to help small businesses in our community survive and thrive.  The local efforts in Houston to support “black-owned” and support local has helped tremendously.  Many of them have been tested and had to build capacity for the demand.  The real questions are: 1.) Can the new levels for those that were ready be sustained and 2.) For those who were not able to survive, what’s needed for re-entry into the market and how can we help?

What are you looking for?