Durham SEEDS Program
In June of 2018, the City of Durham adopted a new Strategic Plan with a core principle of Shared Economic Prosperity. The City is committed to taking intentional steps to better connect the most vulnerable residents in our community to the fruits of the strong Durham economy. Supporting the retention and expansion of local small, minority and women-owned business are an essential focus of the strategy. Removing barriers that limit access to the economy and building capacity to maximize jobs and business opportunities are important components of this strategy.
Durham’s rich tradition and history of “Black Wall Street” generated some iconic companies in the fields of insurance and finance. The City of Durham is looking to preserve and build on the legacy of its rich entrepreneurial tradition. National League of Cities (NLC) and Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) have joined the City of Durham to announce their support to develop a program for retaining legacy minority owned-businesses and the local jobs and wealth they create through the Shared Equity in Economic Development Program (SEED).
Durham is one of four cities selected for the inaugural SEED Fellowship along with Atlanta, Miami and Philadelphia. The SEED Fellowship is a partnership between the National League of Cities (NLC) and Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) that convenes and equips city leaders with tools, resources and expertise to build equitable economies using democratic business ownership through a year-long program of leadership development, peer-to-peer learning, and strategy design support.
Durham SEEDS Fellows over the next year will be designing a plan to look at preservation of minority owned legacy businesses and expansion of small business ownership through succession planning, business evaluation and acquisition strategies including employee/worker conversions. With this program, the City in conjunction with its community partners will be able to begin a conversation with local minority owned legacy businesses. Businesses that have an interest will be linked to specialized resources that will provide technical assistance and extensive training to evaluate succession planning, acquisition and conversion.
The Durham Fellows are Deborah Giles, Director of the City of Durham Department of Equity & Inclusion; Andre Pettigrew, Director of the Office of Economic & Workforce Development for the City of Durham; and Chris Dickey, Economic Development Coordinator with the Office of Economic & Workforce Development for the City of Durham. They are joined by Community Fellow LaTasha Best-Gaddy, Business Consultant, Infinity Bridges, Inc.