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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Leta Brayboy not only talks the talk, she walks the walk. As president of Progressive Neighborhood Federal Credit Union, which considers small business development as one of its tenets, Brayboy is in a keen position because she also is founder and owner of her 12-year old company, Environmental Services, LLC. The company provides commercial and construction cleaning services and employs 25 to 40 people, depending on the season. Brayboy was one of several African-Americans interviewed by the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle on the growing number of minority-owned businesses in the area. The $2.7 million credit union is currently in discussions with the city of Rochester to provide capital to potential business owners. According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, African-American-owned businesses grew by more than 54% in the Rochester area including five surrounding areas. That percentage exceeds the state and nation’s numbers at 49% and 45%, respectively. The census report also shows that roughly two-thirds of African-American owned businesses in the seven-county region are in Rochester. Many in the community attribute much of the growth to downsizing at some of the area’s larger companies resulting in former employees starting their own businesses, the publication reported. Brayboy said some of the keys for small and minority-owned companies are to form partnerships to compete with larger companies and “be more creative.” Progressive FCU celebrated its 10-year anniversary last year. It serves more than 2,700 members.

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