Balch & Bingham, a Birmingham-based corporate law firm with more than 200 lawyers across the Southeast and Texas, on Wednesday announced the launch of Balch Business Boost: a new program to support businesses owned by women or entrepreneurs of color by providing free or low-cost legal services.
The program leverages the considerable experience and talents of Balch attorneys to help emerging and small business owners in several markets across the U.S., including in Alabama, as they navigate legal and entrepreneurial challenges to building and sustaining success. The program will also aim to help businesses fuel growth, eliminate barriers and spark momentum, according to a release from the law firm.
“The events of the last few months have re-focused our attention on the inequities that remain in our society. It is imperative that we all work together to improve the lives of people and groups who have been forced to overcome unnecessary barriers to achieving success,” stated Stan Blanton, managing partner of Balch & Bingham.
Balch’s innovative program launches initially in Birmingham and Montgomery; Atlanta and Augusta, GA; Gulfport and Jackson, MS; Jacksonville, FL; and Houston, TX.
Businesses eligible to apply for the program should be owned by women or entrepreneurs of color and meet one of the following criteria:
Less than an average of $400,000 in annual operating revenue over the past two years.
Less than $500,000 in assets or $250,000 in liquid assets.
Inclusion is reportedly subject to additional requirements, and acceptance will be determined on a case-by-case basis. For more information and to complete the application, click here.
“We gave thoughtful consideration to what we could do as a firm to effect change, tackle systemic injustices and help businesses succeed in a way that builds on our experience as attorneys. As we reviewed some of the initiatives across the country and listened to community leaders, we concluded that a program to assist small and disadvantaged minority- and/or women-owned businesses could have a meaningful, positive impact in our communities. We believe that Balch Business Boost will help give businesses an extra ‘boost’ to accelerate their growth and progress,” added Blanton.
In addition to launching the program, Balch is collaborating with community organizations across its footprint that provide complementary services and support businesses owned by women or entrepreneurs of color. The firm hopes these organizations will help identify businesses and entrepreneurs who have faced disproportionate challenges in recent months, as well as other businesses that could benefit from the additional boost Balch can provide through free or low-cost legal counsel.
“We believe diversity and equality bring important value to our communities. We are undertaking this effort to help entrepreneurs and businesses thrive, which in turn benefits our entire economy,” concluded Blanton. “Through this program, we hope to promote entrepreneurship and economic growth that will unlock the potential for advancement for many across our footprint.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn