Economic Development, Policy, Uncategorized

The State of Minorities’ Access to Capital (2017): Call to Action!

You have heard how severally underrepresented minorities are in the pool of those that have received capital. But you have probably rarely ever seen the statistics behind that statement or the details of what that means.

Setting the Stage

Below is the text of a presentation I gave January of this year. This speech was given at Minority Access to Capital, Inc. (my non-profit’s) first meeting which was titled “The State of Minorities’ Access to Capital”. Some of the information below MAY shock you; unfortunately, others will not. But I believe that knowledge is power. So, it’s necessary to have a starting part of knowledge in order to be able to come up with deliverable metrics by which to measure minority progress in the area of capital access.

Minorities: How do we measure up?

The Minority Business Development Agency states in a 2012 survey that there are almost 8 million minority firms in the United States. They have combined gross receipts of $1.4 trillion, a 38% increase since 2007. However, only 11% of minority-owned firms have paid employees compared to 22% for non-minority firms. Other takeaways include:

  • According to an Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation report, businesses started by people of color perform differently than white-owned businesses as white-owned businesses had double the number of sales. One of the reasons includes industry difference, with black-owned businesses being overrepresented in less successful industries. But entrepreneurs of color also started their business with less capital than their white counterparts. Additionally, this Kauffman brief revealed that education was an impediment as well. Asian and white Americans were more likely to have college degrees—50% and 29% respectively–and therefore more likely to have sales, than their black and Latino counterparts (18% and 13% respectively).
  • More than 2/3 of entrepreneurs use personal savings as a source of funding and more than 1 in 5 rely on family for funding.
  • Research also suggests that approximately 15% of the difference in startup rates among black and white Americans can be explained by differences in assets.
  • According to the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, about 82% of firms that started with at least $100,000 in capital were white-owned, 13% Asian-owned, 4% Hispanic-owned, and 1% are black-owned.

Women: How do we measure up?

As of 2016, it is estimated there are over 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. generating over $1.6 trillion in revenues. (The sources for the information below: From American Express OPEN: The State of Women-Owned Businesses Report (2016) and National Women’s Business Council Report (2012))

  • The growth in the number of women-owned firms surged in the aftermath of the recession. (Growth was 9.2% for non women-owned firms and 45.2% for women-owned firms)
  • Among women of color, Latinas lead the way in the growth of number of firms, Asian-American women lead in employment and revenue growth. African American women-owned firms constitute a 61% majority of African American owned firms.
  • In a 2012 report, the National Women’s Business Council found that on average, men start their businesses with nearly twice as much capital as women ($135,000 vs. $75,000). This disparity is slightly larger among firms with high-growth potential ($320,000 vs. $150,000), and much larger in the Top 25 firms ($1.3 million vs. $210,000).
  •  The same report found that high-growth potential firms started with about twice as much capital as other firms, and were more likely to rely on outside financing, both debt and equity. However, controlling for other variables including growth potential, men still used significantly higher levels of capital than women from 2005 to 2007.
  •  The biggest difference in amount of capital between men and women was with regard to outside equity, even controlling for other factors. Women received only 2% of total funding from outside equity, compared to 18% for men. This gap also occurred in both the high-growth potential firms and the Top 25 firms. As growth potential increases, so does the dollar amount of external equity used—this is true for both men and women, although the rates of increase differ.
  • Regarding demand for credit (i.e. outside debt), women were more likely to be discouraged from applying for loans due to fear of denial, particularly during the financial crisis of 2008–2010. This fear was somewhat justified: in 2008, women-owned firms were much more likely to have their loan applications denied than their men-owned counterparts.

What am I doing about this?

For anyone that knows me, you know I am a DOER instead of a complainer. So this is why Kendrick Advisory & Advocacy Group, LLC was started—to provide a unique experience for minorities to engage with one another and others in accessing capital. You can join the cause too! You can sign up for our enewsletter, follow us on social media, volunteer or DONATE to the cause. It takes all of us doing our part to make this happen.

Here are some IMMEDIATE opportunities to get involved below:


My name is Dar’shun Kendrick and I am a business attorney and owner of Kendrick Law Practice, helping businesses raise capital the LEGAL way. I have 2 B.A.s from Oglethorpe University, a law degree from the University of Georgia and an M.B.A. from Kennesaw State University. Additionally, I have been elected to the Georgia House of Representatives (East DeKalb/South Gwinnett counties) since 2011 and I serve on the committees of Juvenile Justice, Interstate Cooperation, Judiciary Non-Civil and as the ranking Democrat on the Small Business and Job Creation Committee. I am also a board member of the Technology Association of Georgia’s corporate development board, a writer for Black Enterprise magazine and featured in the Huffington Post as one of 25 people in Atlanta to improve diversity in the ecosystem for African Americans in technology.

I am also the founder and Board Chair of a non-profit organization to EDUCATE and EMPOWER minorities called Minority Access to Capital, Inc. Furthermore, I am an Economic Justice Advocate and Owner of Kendrick Advisory and Advocacy Group L.L.C. providing consulting and advocacy services on policy and initiatives across the nation for those that want to reach minorities. More information can be found online at about my platform.

Follow us on social media:

LinkedIn Company Page






What Does “Economic Justice” Mean to You As a Woman or Racial Minority?

The answer to this question is simple to me. It means economic parity—parity in access to capital for minority businesses, access to economic opportunities through employment and sustainability for minorities and any and all things in between. Since focusing my law firm on capital compliance for small businesses and since being elected to the Georgia legislature, I have seen vast differences in the capital raising pipeline, access and process between minorities and non-minorities. It has been concerning so I decided to do something about it.

That is why I launched Kendrick Advisory & Advocacy Group, LLC (“KAAG”). This is a full service consulting and advocacy firm for groups and individuals who want to fight for economic justice in their community for racial minorities and women. We help with event planning, advocacy consulting and general consulting on economic justice matters that matter to you!

KAAG did a “soft launch” in February but we have been busy since that time. Here are a few highlights:

(1) I became a Black Enterprise Magazine contributor in January of this year and have published three articles so far, with a 4th one PENDING on an Atlanta based company using technology to connect citizens with issues and policy markers:

Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to my blog to receive my Black Enterprise articles as soon as it posts.

(2) I built an enewsletter called “DarshunSpeaks” with a strong following of over 140 committed people to the cause of economic justice. It continues to grow by the day. You can view the past enewsletters below:

Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to keep up with all the activities of KAAG and be the first to know about specials and events.

(3) I scheduled a series of events starting this spring. First one coming up!

April 18th Meet Up- Register online today!

View other events online which include, but not limited to, May 2nd Twitter chat on “The State of Minorities Access to Capital” and an end of May Book Club and Investment Club meeting.

Will you join the cause?

I am pleased to announce our signature event on July 25th in partnership with the Chick fil A Foundation, TAG (Technology Association of Georgia), the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus and Minority Access to Capital, Inc. on minorities raising capital and growth strategies at the Georgia World Congress Center. *Sponsorships are available for each of these events so visit us online to learn more.


My name is Dar’shun Kendrick and I am a business attorney and owner of Kendrick Law Practicehelping businesses raise capital the LEGAL way. I have 2 B.A.s from Oglethorpe University, a law degree from the University of Georgia and an M.B.A. from Kennesaw State University. Additionally,I have been elected to the Georgia House of Representatives (East DeKalb/South Gwinnett counties) since 2011 and I serve on the committees of Juvenile Justice, Interstate Cooperation, Judiciary NonCivil and as the ranking Democrat on the Small Business and Job Creation Committee. I am also board member of the Technology Association of Georgia’s corporate development board.

Currently, I am also Founder and Board Chair of a non-profit organization to EDUCATE and EMPOWER minorities called Minority Access to Capital, Inc. . Furthermore, I am an Economic Justice Advocate and Owner of Kendrick Advisory and Advocacy Group, LLC providing consulting and advocacy services on policy and initiatives for minorities across the nation. More information can be found online at about my platform.


Entreprenur Kathryn Finney Discusses How Economic Parity Can Be Achieved With Technology

As you know, February is Black History month. I know most of you have been bombarded with Black History facts about the past throughout the month, however, I’d like to take the time to highlight the black future. With this in mind, it gives me pleasure to highlight one of my favorite black technology entrepreneurs,…

Source: Entreprenur Kathryn Finney Discusses How Economic Parity Can Be Achieved With Technology

Uncategorized, Voting & Elections

Is Expanded Voting Coming to Gwinnett County? See the 2016 Budget Proposals.

Happy New Year (in a couple of days anyway)!

Not only will we bring in 2016 but the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners will also be voting on their 2016 County Budget. I have heard from constituents in the Gwinnett portion of my district (where about 60% of the voting age population reside) about the possibility of shorter early voting days and locations. This is a valid concern…especially given the laws the Georgia legislature has passed to curtail early voting and, in some cases, voting period in Georgia. So I wanted to provide you with some preliminary information before the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners votes on Tuesday, Jan. 5th on the proposed budget. The purpose of this is for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES since the proposed budget has not been voted on yet.

D93 map

Information To Know

First, here is the proposed Budget Resolution that gives an overall view of the Chairman’s proposed budget. By the way, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Gwinnett is Charlotte Nash. I have had the opportunity on several occasions to meet her husband and her adorable dog Oscar, whom I want to run away with but I digress…..

Second, take a look at this information on community services that gives a visual on the proposed budget, specifically at the number of registered voters in Gwinnett and the upcoming election schedule for 2016. Mark your calendar! Be there to vote EVERY time. (Take a look at page 15-16 and pages 20-22.)

So how did the Chairwoman come up with the budget? 

“Chairman Nash invited five county residents and business people to serve on a budget review committee. Two of the committee members graduated from the inaugural class of the Gwinnett Citizens Academy. After hearing presentations from elected officials and department directors in late August and early September, the group studied departmental business plans, budget needs, and revenue projections to make recommendations for the 2016 budget.” (Source– last accessed 12/29/15) I know there have been some that have challenged the integrity of the selection process to this budget review committee. I understand your concerns but they will not be addressed in this blog post.

The Complaint

It’s my understanding that some feel as if Gwinnett county’s voting population is too large to only have the proposed voting dates and locations in place. I am aware that there is a petition that calls for the following: “Demand seventeen (17) days of early voting with ten (10) satellite locations from 7:00am to 7:00pm with 1 Saturday and 1 Sunday included.” The best option proposed by the Board of Voter Registration was twelve (12) days of early voting at eight (8) locations (Source, page 22) . Three recommendations were submitted to the Citizens Budget Review Committee to chose one that fit into the County budget. The Citizens’ Budget Review Committee recommended keeping AIP voting at six (6) days including one (1) Saturday but substantially  expanding the hours for the November General Election from 7am to 7pm.  The Elections Central Office will have 16 days of AIP voting, including one (1) Saturday. (Per Phil Hoskins, Deputy County Administrator via email dated 12/29/15)

The Response

I hear your concerns and want to make sure I provide you with as much preliminary information as possible. I emailed Chairman Nash and she swiftly provided the following response, in part: “[T]he Proposed Budget that I submitted to the District Commissioners in November includes funding for more locations and longer hours for AIP [advanced in person] voting than we have had previously. In total, the Proposed Budget includes almost $7.5 million to fund elections in 2016, including expansion of AIP voting locations and times.”  (dated 12/29/15)

For those of you that vote at the Centerville Community Center and have concerns about that voting location, I was able to get a response from the Chairman as well: ” Based on construction at that location, using it as a location for AIP voting would have resulted in shutting down Senior Center functions there for certain periods of time.  The Board of Voter Registrations and Elections did not want to affect the seniors in this way so the Board chose not to use this location for 2016.” (dated 12/29/15)

For your information, here is a full list of the AIP voting locations from Phil Hoskins, Deputy County Administrator:  With the addition of Shorty Howell Park, Gwinnett County will provide eight (8) AIP voting locations, including the Elections Central Office.  The  AIP voting locations are:  Bogan Park Community Center; Dacula Park Activity Building; Elections Central Office; George Pierce Park Community Center; Lenora Park Activity Building; Lucky Shoals Park Community Center; and Mountain Park Activity Building (note:  the Mountain Park location replaces the Centerville Community Center due to construction plans along with the senior center activities now held at Centerville). (dated 12/29/15) Please note for future reference.

UPDATE: (as of 1/5/16)



(Lawrenceville, Ga., Jan. 5, 2015) – Gwinnett commissioners adopted a balanced, $1.5 billion budget for fiscal year 2016 at their first meeting of the year on Tuesday. With the exception of slight adjustments made to police budget, it mirrors the proposal made in November. Commissioners spent that time reviewing the budget and comments they received during a December public hearing and through an online form.

The adopted budget holds the line on property tax rates while funding services cut during the recession, addressing concerns about workforce recruitment and retention, and investing in essential infrastructure and critical community needs. Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said, “This budget invests in the big picture, focusing on what’s really important for our community. It also is in line with our history of sustainable, conservative financial management by looking at future implications of today’s decisions.”

The operating budget totals $1.1 billion, compared to $1.05 billion last year. It includes an additional $7.2 million to cover election expenses and expand hours and locations for advance voting. It also unfreezes 25 police positions and restores staff at the animal shelter and in parks maintenance. Library funding is up to 88 percent of its 2008 level and Gwinnett Transit can add three new express routes. Home care and delivered meals are expanded for seniors on waiting lists. There will be additions to a special victims unit in the District Attorney’s office, 30 new police officers, nine new firefighter/paramedics, 12 new part-time sheriff deputies, three new Juvenile Court positions and another magistrate judge. The budget includes a four percent pay-for-performance increase for eligible employees and the restoration of longevity pay.

The capital budget of $363 million, down from $371 million last year, funds design for a new state patrol building, a courthouse expansion, construction of a new medical examiner/morgue building, senior center renovations and body cameras for police officers and sheriff’s deputies.

Nash again asked five county residents and business people to serve voluntarily on a budget review committee. They heard presentations from elected officials and department directors in September and studied departmental business plans, funding needs and revenue projections with County staff before making recommendations for the 2016 budget.

Call to Action

You have until Thursday, December 31st to submit your comments on the budget to this online comment form if you reside in Gwinnett county. Thank you for allowing me to serve all of you!



I have been elected to the House of Representatives since 2011, representing over 54,000 Georgians in East DeKalb and South Gwinnett counties. I currently serve on the Juvenile Justice, Interstate Cooperation, Judiciary Non-Civil, and as the ranking Democrat on the Small Business Development and Job Creation committee. I am a private securities lawyer by profession and a native of Atlanta, GA. Please visit my website YouTube, FacebookTwitter and slideshare account for more information on Georgia government.



Children & Youth, Education, Health, Public Safety, Technology, Uncategorized

My 1st Legislative Hack-a-thon: Reflections and Reviews

This past weekend, Saturday, December 5th, about 40 individuals descended on ITT-Atlanta eager to be engaged in the legislative process. The purpose was to bring Georgians from all over the state to discuss legislation they would like to see proposed to address a specific issue. I titled it a “hack-a-thon” because hack-a-thons are associated in the technology industry with computer coding to solve a specific issue. Other industries haven taken this concept to make it more broadly apply to resolving any issue, not just technology issues.

Engagement is one of the pivotal roles I see as a legislator. As one participant told me “I’ve never been asked my opinion about what legislation I think is needed for this state.” That’s a sad statement and one I hope me and my colleagues under the Gold Dome can address. Engagement in the legislative process not only makes me a better, more accountable legislator but a better citizen and the state better. Indeed some of my BEST legislative ideas, like HB 6 (My HOPE bill) come from constituents involved in the legislative process and willing to communicate their thoughts to me.

The day started with hearing from 2 individuals that I consider to be experts in their field and great associates of mine—-Kenyette Barnes and Jason M. Shepard, who is a former agency lobbyist. We discussed how bills are REALLY passed under the Gold Dome, a day in the life of a lobbyists, addressed some of the reasons “lobbyists” get a bad name and what average citizens can do to lobby their legislator. The questions from the audience focused on getting involved in the committee process (yay!), how lobbyist made money (which we saved for in person discussions) and creative ways to communicate with law makers.



After pictures, networking and hugs for the panelists (because they did an AWESOME job), the groups broke out as follows:

The topics were:

  • Child Support Reform, moderated by me and Attorney Kelli Hooper
  • School Discipline, moderated by Jennifer Young and Attorney Kathryn Boortz
  • Mental Health and the Police, moderated by Ashlyn Shockley and Attorney Raquel Hoover
  • Technology Skills & Jobs, moderated by A. Fitzgerald Breland and Theron Johnson
  • Treatment of the Homeless, moderated by Yasmin Neal and Attorney Emily Macheski-Preston

After spending 2.5 hours asking the tough questions to our attorneys and experts in each group, each group was tasked with making a 5 minute presentation to the whole group. We had lunch provided by Jewel Anderson and then reconvened to hear the ideas from the other groups and ask the tough questions.


The Child Support Reform group presents to all the participants. Here are the results of their deliberations.


The Technology & Jobs group presents to all the participants. Here are the results of their deliberations.


The School Discipline group presents to all the participants. Here are the results of their deliberations.



The Mental Health & The Police group presents to all the participants. Here are the results of their deliberations.



The Homelessness group presents to all the participants. Here are the results of their deliberations.

So what are the next steps?

  1. Assess which pieces of proposed legislation are feasible by discussing with legislative counsel.
  2. Review the comments on how to improve from the Host committee for this year and the participants.
  3. Plan the 2016 Legislative Hack-a-thon by putting together the Host committee now.

I’m excited!


2015 At Desk

I have been elected to the House of Representatives since 2011, representing over 54,000 Georgians in East DeKalb and South Gwinnett counties. I currently serve on the Juvenile Justice, Interstate Cooperation, Judiciary Non-Civil, and as the ranking Democrat on the Small Business Development and Job Creation committee. I am a private securities lawyer by profession and a native of Atlanta, GA. Please visit my website YouTube, FacebookTwitter and slideshare account for more information on Georgia government.