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Despite the hit that tech companies received last year, the use of e-commerce is still influential to the bottom line of a brick-and-mortar company, according to the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). This is especially true for minority-owned companies that are using the Internet to attract customers and apply for government contracts.
“We need to convince minority-owned businesses that e-commerce is the way to go,” says Ronald Langston, national director of the MBDA. “They must become engaged, or they will be left out of the global economy.”
In a case study of minority firms with annual revenues of $500,000 and higher, the MBDA found that although more African American-owned firms created Websites and home pages to enhance their businesses, they did not make any further thrust toward e-commerce for a variety of reasons.
The study found that for 20% to 24% of the companies surveyed, their product or service (i.e., management consulting, insurance, or accounting services) did not require the use of or see a need for e-commerce, while 11% to 15% of the companies simply did not want it. Other barriers include an absence of a company infrastructure to support the use of e-commerce, the expense of creating and/or updating it on a regular basis, lack of expertise to maintain it, and a lack of comfort with technology to implement it.