Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Michael Knight


There was a long history of Jim Crow laws in the State of Georgia, which permeated in social, educational, and economical ways that prohibited African American business owners from competing for the state contracts. In 1982, there was a shift in state policy that implemented an outreach programs to seek out African American businesses and ensure that those interested businesses were enrolled as registered vendors for procurement. Yet little is known about the success of those outreach efforts over the last 35 years. Using Swearing and Plank's work on survival of minority business programs as a conceptual framework, this study evaluated (a) the association between the registration status (registered, non-registered, unknown) with the Georgia Minority Business Enterprise Program (GMBE Program) and gender, and (b) descriptive information about the outreach efforts of the MBE Program. Data were collected from 108 randomly selected African American small business owners in the State of Georgia through an online survey. A chi-square test revealed a significant association (p = .08) between gender and enrollment of registered vendors, with women more likely to register as vendors than were men. Descriptive data also revealed that nearly half (48% percent) of respondents had not registered with the MBE Program and were not aware of the educational and economic opportunities offered through the program. Contracts were awarded 4 times more frequently to vendors registered with the MBE Program as compared to businesses not registered. The positive social change implications of this study include recommendation to the state of the Georgia MBE Program to collaborate on outreach efforts to African American business owners to encourage economic development in minority communities and minorities-owned businesses.