BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer
The largest demographic of people opening business in the United States are black women, television personality Star Jones stated. About 75 percent of women-owned business makes less than $50,000 a year.
“It’s really imperative that we infuse money, capital into businesses so that they can grow,” Jones said. “They can invest in marketing; they can invest in more product development. And Hillary has really put forth a plan of action for getting that done.”
Both Carla Bristol and Annie Tyrell, local business owners in Midtown, have their sights set on Clinton due to her promising proposed small business plan.
Bristol, owner of Gallerie 909, and Tyrell, owner of Annie’s Beauty Supply, support Clinton’s small business plan for individual, yet similar reasons.
Bristol’s major concern for small business is the need for aid and direction to stay open.
Sonia Noel, Star Jones and Carla Bristol
at Gallerie 909
“A lot of galleries are closing due to oversaturation in the area and not enough art buyers,” said Bristol.
Although Bristol has been able to shift her focus and strategies to continue growing her business, she acknowledged that many small businesses, especially galleries, because they are self-funded need additional aid and direction to stay open.
She believes that Clinton’s small business plan offers that opportunity to small business owners through her claim to unlock access to capital.
What are Clinton’s plans for small businesses?
• Give small businesses—including women and minority-owned small businesses—access to the financing they need to build, grow and hire
• Work to boost small-business lending by easing burdens for community banks and credit unions
• Allow entrepreneurs to defer student-loan payments with no interest while they get their ventures off the ground
Bristol believes that with the increase of capital available to small businesses, they will be able to increase marketing ventures and spread the word about their services.
One example Bristol uses to explain her reason behind supporting Clinton comes from her usage of Square for merchant transactions.
As a small business owner, Square offers her a $6,800 loan to be paid off by a percentage of sales from her business and does not create an additional payment. Clinton’s small business plan falls in line with this concept through structured loans or grants, allowing a small business to succeed without falling into debt.
“She is more in touch with small business,” stated Bristol.
Tyrell also believes that Clinton is more in touch with small businesses and sees herself voting for her this November for the sake and welfare of current and future small businesses.
Having access to finances will open up more opportunities to those thinking about starting a business, believes Tyrell. But what excites her most is the proposal to cut red tape to streamline the process of starting a small business, tax relief and the opportunity to find new investors.
“What new business owners may not understand is that in the first three to five years it may be a struggle,” said Tyrell, who spoke from personal experience.
After becoming $40,000 in debt, she was faced with two options: relocate due to rent costs or close the doors.
However, she was determined to make Annie’s Beauty Supply a success.
Tyrell continues to work full time as a RN, in addition to managing and manning the storefront to supplement her needs.
Tyrell acknowledges that building her business has been tough with the addition of a large debt and a decreased credit score, but she believes the proposed changes in Clinton’s small business plan will allow future entrepreneurs to succeed with fewer headaches.
“When I started this business my credit was awesome…having bad credit should not be the sole indicator of a business’ success,” said Tyrell.
Even though Trump’s campaign has reportedly announced the formation of a small-business advisory council designed to advise Trump on the issues most relevant to small business owners, this isn’t enough for Bristol and Tyrell.
Both agree that his derogatory comments towards women and the African-American community make them feel uncomfortable about their futures as minority, female business owners.
“I don’t get the feeling he’ll be unbiased,” said Bristol. “I migrated from South America…and what I’m hearing is what feels like a tremendous amount of hate.”
“I definitely would support Hillary, she has a better grasp on women and small business goals,” said Tyrell. “The things that this man says are truly unbelievable.”
“She can identify with women issues for sure, being a woman herself. Hillary and her support of women and women in business, even women in the workforce needing to be paid and paid equally,” Tyrell continued.
Bristol pointed out Trump’s failed business ventures and lack of political experience.
“Even his failures have been seen as successes,” said Bristol. “We don’t feel like Trump is relatable and he has no proven history dealing with charity and the middle and lower classes. I can see him get people with promises and not delivering.”
“I definitely feel that everyone that can vote needs to get out and make their voices heard,” stated Tyrell. “Absentee ballots make it possible if you can’t get out of the house.”
The deadline for absentee request is 5 p.m. Nov 2. Requests can be made by submitting a Mail Ballot Request Form on the Pinellas County Supervisor or Elections Office’s website, calling (727) 464-VOTE (8683), emailing MailBallot@VotePinellas.com or writing the Supervisor of Elections Office.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls are open 7-7 p.m. If you’re in line by 7 p.m., you’re allowed to vote.