UF Alum creates brighter future for minority businesses
By Claudia Bellofatto
Published: Jun. 16, 2020 at 5:03 PM EDT
The inspiration for MBListings.org came to UF alumnus, Wayne Fields, when he was operating an advertising agency in the 1990s. At first, the government was required to award a certain percentage of contracts to minority-owned businesses, known as ‘set-aside contracts.’ Eventually, that was ruled unconstitutional.
Fields, Founder and CEO of MBListings.org, said the whole process was a frustrating transition. “It went from mandatory to good-faith effort. That good faith effort turned into no effort at all. So, there were excuses of ‘well we aren’t doing business because we don’t know who the minority businesses are.’ Well … if you don’t know who they are, someone needs to provide that list. That is when we developed MBListing.org.”
In addition to providing exposure for minority-owned businesses, Fields’ team also serves business referrals, marketing, and advertising. The first hard copy edition of MBListings came out in 2013. If you look through it, the businesses range from insurance and advertising, to dentistry and restaurants. While the idea has stayed the same throughout the years, technology has taken it to the next level.
The website currently includes information on over 450 minority-owned businesses in Alachua County — but the dream and plan go far beyond county lines. “I have a desire to make MBListings.org the largest listings of businesses in the world,” Fields said.
And Fields’ hope for the future of minorities goes far beyond business contracts. “The injustice that people are going through is ridiculous. The only way you can bring about effective change is that you hit someone in their pocket, not just their mouth. It’s not just burning a building down. You knock that door down and you walk in with a plan. And then you implement that plan. And that’s what MBListings is trying to make a difference and do. Trying to make a positive change.”
Check out the website: www.mblistings.org