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In the Black and the Green

Kimberly N. Alleyne, senior director of marketing and communications for the Association for Enterprise Opportunity

By Ashahed M. Muhammad
Special to the NNPA from The Final Call – (Part I of II)

Despite upward trending employment statistics and financial achievement for some Blacks, the key to establishing generational wealth is not necessarily landing a good job or making it big on the stage or screen.

Entrepreneurship is the key to achieving sustainable wealth, according to analyst Kimberly N. Alleyne, senior director of marketing and communications for the Association for Enterprise Opportunity in Washington, D.C.

“The other thing it does is that when you start a business you create a job. So not only is the person creating a job for him or herself but if the business proves to be profitable and that business owner is able to access the resources that he or she needs, you can hire other people and then can grow your business by expanding and hiring,” said Ms. Alleyne.

Although being an entrepreneur takes effort and self-confidence, through research and gaining access to the right people and knowledge of what is available, success can be achieved, she said. For example, there are government programs for Black women entrepreneurs, as well as networking opportunities for low income and residents of rural areas.

The recent release of Black Enterprise’s 42nd annual rankings of the nation’s top Black-owned businesses found the leading growth industries among Black entrepreneurs to be Industrial/Service companies ($21.8 billion), Auto Dealers ($8 billion) and Advertising ($308.2 million.) Investment Banking and Asset Management are on the decline.

“The BE 100s—the nation’s largest Black businesses—continue to be the standard bearers for all American enterprises, demonstrating that sustained business growth comes when ideation and innovation is wedded to execution and excellence,” said Black Enterprise Senior VP/Editor-in-Chief Derek T. Dingle. “As such, most exhibit elasticity, capability, technological adaptability and branding power in a seesaw economic recovery and hyper-competitive business environment,” he added.

“Although we have protested government and the business community for years calling for ‘jobs and justice,’ we will only approach that principle of fair dealing when entire communities negotiate not only to become employees, but also the owners of the companies that profit from our consumption,” commented economist and author Cedric Muhammad.
Economic recovery?

President Barack Obama was upbeat July 3 as he announced America has seen the fastest job growth in the first half of the year since 1999. It was also the first time there has been five consecutive months of job growth over 200,000 since that same year. Some 288,000 positions were added which was well over the previously predicted 215,000 for the month of June. Despite the good news, he stopped short of declaring total recovery.

“Now, what we also know is, as much progress as has been made, there are still folks out there who are struggling. We still have not seen as much increase in income and wages as we’d like to see,” said President Obama. “A lot of folks are still digging themselves out of challenges that arose out of the Great Recession,” he added.

The Labor Department’s statistics indicated Black unemployment fell from 11.5 percent in May to 10.7 percent in June, however, that is still a level twice that of Whites.

The companies on Black Enterprise’s list generated $29.8 billion in revenue, an increase of 13.5 percent from the previous year, employing 65,750 people. The top industries were the automotive industry and technology. Despite all the negative media attention and all that has happened in cities such as Flint, Benton Harbor, and Detroit, it was the state of Michigan which stood out having 21 Black-owned businesses on the list.

World Wide Technology Inc., a Missouri-based Information Technology company employing 2,517 and revenues totaling $6.4 billion led the list. David L. Steward is the company’s founder and CEO and author of “Doing Business by the Good Book.”

The National Black McDonald’s Operators Association came together formally in 1972 and currently boasts of over 300 individual entities operating over 1,300 locations throughout America with a presence also in South Africa and The Caribbean. Annual sales of membership exceeds $2.7 billion. Some consider the McDonald’s program as an example of pioneering work in the area of Black business.

Corporate partnerships or exploitation?

One name often mentioned when discussing well-known Black executives is Earvin “Magic” Johnson. He formed Magic Johnson Enterprises in 1987 as a vehicle that, according to the company’s website, “serves as a catalyst for driving unparalleled business results for our partners and fostering community and economic empowerment by making available high-quality entertainment, products, and services that answer the demands of ethnically diverse urban communities.”

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