Q&A: Support for minority-owned small businesses is crucial to the vitality of the Fresno metro area

The Kresge Foundation recently had an opportunity to discuss the minority-owned and small business landscape of Fresno, California, with Cassandra Little of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce (FMBCC). Little, who has a doctorate in philosophy, serves as the executive director and CEO of the FMBCC, an American Cities Program grantee dedicated to engaging, educating and empowering Black businesses in the Central Valley. In this Q&A, Little shares more about the Chamber’s “Betting Big” program, efforts for creating strong ecosystems that support the unique needs of its members and how the success of small businesses benefits all of Fresno.

Q: For someone new to Fresno, can you share what the entrepreneurship environment is like — a “state of things” as they are today.

A: Fresno is at a pivotal moment in its economic journey.

Cassandra D. Little, President and CEO, Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce
Cassandra D. Little, President and CEO, Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce

We have witnessed significant growth in the entrepreneurial sector, a testament to the resilience, creativity and determination of our business community. Despite facing unprecedented challenges in recent years, Fresno’s entrepreneurs have shown remarkable adaptability, pivoted their business models and embraced new ways to thrive during and after COVID.

The growth of minority-owned businesses,