(FinalCall.com) – Blacks comprise 12 percent of this nation’s population, but what we are known for economically is that we comprise 20 percent of the country’s poorest people. Due to almost total reliance on economic production for, and by, America’s White population, poverty and unemployment rates for Black individuals, families and children are the highest of the nation’s ethnic groups.
Until Blacks understand the impact of the economy on all of our lives, and how to harness it to our benefit, we will continue to have the highest unemployment rates, and little or no economy to employ, train and sustain our people. Blacks’ lack of understanding and participation in the nation’s economic equation is illustrated by an absence of ownership in essential services as basic as food markets, drug stores, hardware stores and banks where we live. From Detroit to Denver, and Orlando to Oakland, the majority of commercial buildings in Black urban areas are vacant and in poor physical condition. Through our own inaction, zoning, high insurance rates and limited access to capital remain impediments to having businesses in Black areas.
How can we improve lives and lifestyles in Black communities? Who will save us but those of us who take control of major components of local economies and make them appropriate to the constituency they will serve? How will we overcome continuing deterioration in Black neighborhoods and initiate activities toward building sustainable communities and ventures?
Employing the basics of capitalism is necessary for Blacks to create community development for, and in, their communities. We need to acquire and use strong educational components that involve economic literacy. If it were up to the Black head of the only federal government agency created specifically to foster the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses, such a mission toward upgrading our communities starts with our youth gaining economic literacy.
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has initiated a program aimed at preparing minority college students to become successful entrepreneurs. The MBDA recently hosted an Emerging Business Leaders Summit during their Minority Enterprise Development Week in Washington, D.C. Ronald N. Langston, MBDA’s national director, says, “Economic improvements in the African American community can be accelerated with planning and collaborative efforts from business and private sectors. The MBDA is committed to advancing initiatives for economic security by providing training and mentoring for tomorrow’s leaders.”
The MBDA is a 33-year-old federal agency its purpose is to empower minority business enterprises toward wealth creation in minority communities. MBDA provides assistance to socially or economically disadvantaged groups and individuals wishing to start or expand businesses. It is the principal government source for information for and about business. Through its resources, programs and initiatives, MBDA produces strategic information that can assist minorities in making informed decisions vital to their success in business.
Youth initiatives aren’t the only valuable program initiatives Blacks interested in economic development can tap into with the MBDA. It has developed a number of electronic tools accessible to business-minded people throughout the country via the internet. MBDA’s web site, www.mbda.gov, serves as a portal designed to offer pertinent information on topics that should be of interest to minorities interested in being in business.