Minority Business Enterprises

East-West Gateway Council of Governments

The number of minority-owned businesses in the St. Louis region has shown substantial growth in recent years, expanding faster than any of the other 50 most populous metro areas in the country.

Parth Shah

Local companies are buying more and more goods and services from minority vendors. That's according to the St. Louis Minority Business Council, a coalition of local corporations and minority-owned businesses.

The group launched the “Billion Dollar Impact” project back in 2011 with an initial goal of increasing spending by a billion dollars by July 2014. Over the past three years, companies in the St. Louis region have spent more than $1.4 billion on contracts with minority-owned businesses, exceeding expectations by over $400 million.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Department of Commerce is giving nearly $1 million to promote minority business enterprises, or MBEs, in the St. Louis region.

The $900,000 grant announced Tuesday will establish a business center to provide minority entrepreneurs and business owners with contract and financing opportunities, bonding services and executive training.