Former federal employee helps minority-owned small businesses access funding
Tax expert Talibah Bayles started her career in a big way, working for the FBI in Washington, D.C, but in 2006 she decided to move back to her hometown of Birmingham, Ala. and launch her own business so she could focus on taking care of her young family. While Birmingham is a much smaller city, Talibah was determined to make a big impact on her community.
Through her firm TMB Tax & Financial Services, Talibah has been able to support local small businesses by providing tax advice and access to capital resources. She specifically works with minority-owned businesses that are often left behind by traditional financial institutions. She also joined the City of Birmingham Small Business Council to advise the mayor on the needs of small business in the city.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the local small business community, Talibah saw an opportunity to make a real difference, particularly for small business owners of color who have historically faced systemic barriers to accessing capital through financial institutions. Talibah was perfectly equipped to educate and advocate for those businesses that were left behind by federal funding programs. She has even started a non-profit called Access Granted, where she works closely with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and community partners to provide the small businesses in her community with advice and free services to be able to apply for grants and loans.
She explains, “In Alabama it was hard for minority-owned businesses to gather the information needed to apply for loan programs like the Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). Most business owners just don’t have the time to get the information together or simply don’t know where to start.”
However, Talibah wanted to make a difference on a larger scale, so she connected with her contacts from days in Washington and testified in front of Congress about how challenges accessing PPP and EIDL have affected business owners of color.
Talibah testified, “PPP was a necessary short-term lifeline for them and certainly addressed an immediate need for business owners that were approved. However, to weather this storm over the long run it is critical that business owners have access to flexible, long-term working capital. Minority-owned businesses often do not have significant cash reserves or access to traditional capital and any effort from Congress to provide long-term loans with low interest will help sustain these businesses."
After providing her testimony, Talibah started her own non-profit called AccessGranted where she works closely with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and community partners to provide small business owners with advice and free services to apply for grants and loans. She hopes these services will help keep Main Street alive as businesses face new challenges stemming from the delta variant and aid in post-pandemic recovery.
Talibah advises small business owners, “Don't go it alone. Build a solid team of individuals that are experts in what they do and who will rally behind the goals and missions you've set ahead for your business.”