26 Jul 2023
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Overcoming Barriers in Tech for Black-Owned Businesses

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By Tyrone Showers
Co-Founder Taliferro


Technology is often hailed as a universal language that transcends geographic and cultural borders. Yet, in practice, the tech industry doesn't always represent the diversity we see in the world around us. This is particularly true for Black individuals and Black-owned businesses who may face significant barriers when attempting to access opportunities within the tech sector and in government contracting.

The Challenge of Government Contracting

A particularly noticeable issue lies in the process of obtaining government contracts. For any business, these contracts can be a significant source of revenue and growth. But the procurement process is often filled with bureaucratic hurdles, which disproportionately affect Black-owned businesses.

One such hurdle is obtaining a number, a requirement for businesses that wish to bid on federal contracts. While this process should ideally be straightforward, many Black business owners report long waiting periods and complex administrative processes.

Minority Business Certification

In addition to a number, businesses seeking to take advantage of opportunities aimed at supporting minority-owned businesses must also obtain minority business certification. In states like Washington, the process for obtaining this certification is reportedly backlogged, leading to even longer waiting periods.

This backlog is particularly concerning considering the demographic make-up of Washington, where the Black population isn't overwhelmingly large. If businesses in such areas are experiencing these administrative delays, it's concerning to imagine the state of affairs in areas with larger Black populations.

The Perception of a Conspiracy

These barriers have led some to suspect a broader conspiracy aimed at keeping Black individuals and businesses out of the tech industry and government contracting. While it's essential to approach such claims with caution, it is undeniable that these systemic barriers contribute to the underrepresentation of Black individuals in these sectors.

It's crucial to remember that systemic issues often arise from a complex mix of historical, cultural, and institutional factors, which can create a cycle of disadvantage that's hard to break.


While the claim of an active conspiracy might be debatable, the challenges faced by Black-owned businesses in the tech sector and in seeking government contracts are undeniable. The tech industry and the government need to take active steps to ensure that their procurement processes are as transparent, accessible, and streamlined as possible.

Addressing these challenges is not just a matter of equity and fairness, but also of economic growth and innovation. A diverse tech industry that includes more Black-owned businesses can lead to a wider range of ideas and solutions, benefiting everyone in our society.

Tyrone Showers