All Articles Tagged "community development"
Despite an increasing level of development in African American entrepreneurship, venture capitalists have yet to show real interest. A CB Insights study show that for the nine percent of all new entrepreneurship activity in 2011, less than one percent of venture capital investment went to African American-owned digital start ups. In the Huffington Post, Darrin Redus, Jump Start Inc’s chief economic inclusion advisor says that it’s up to local communities across the country to foster a greater sense of inclusion for entrepreneurs attempting to secure financial support. But how can communities help build venture capitalist interest and financial support for minority entrepreneurs?
First, they can begin to connect with executive directors and presidents of minority technical and professional groups which are steadily growing across the nation. These organizations include the National Society of Black Engineers and The American Association of Blacks in Energy. A close connection between these groups and leaders in the mainstream will assist in developing the connections and relationships needed to form tech start-ups.
Next, communities can propose educational and awareness-building conference with stakeholders. Redus notes a national Minority Biomedical Entrepreneurship Conference held last May in Cleveland, Ohio which helped promote African American and Hispanic innovation in biomedical entrepreneurship.
Communities can also promote access to capital for minority groups instead of to big corporations and white-owned businesses that generally receive the funding.
Another idea to help foster minority tech-start ups, is pilot programs. Pilot programs allow entrepreneurs to test their new products, technologies and services with established regional and national organizations. If the pilots are successful, then these organizations become the partners and customers of these new products.
Communities should also attempt to build relationships with historically black colleges and universities, specifically in technology. Reaching out to minority alumni associations also assists in fostering these connections.
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(Chicago Sun Times) — In a downtown rally Sunday afternoon, Chicago community leaders voiced their hope that Rahm Emanuel who will be sworn in as mayor Monday would work with them to help bring more TIF funds to underserved neighborhoods and schools. Gathered in front of the Chicago Board of Trade, 141 W. Jackson, they stressed the need for tax-increment financing money in neighborhoods and questioned the reasoning behind TIF funds for successful multi-million dollar corporations. The Mercantile Exchange received $15 million in TIF subsides for renovations to the Chicago Board of Trade building, including its restrooms, despite making $457 million in profits in the first three months of 2011 along, organizers said.
(Washington Informer) — The incoming county executive of Prince George’s County wants to build a stronger partnership with the District of Columbia and improve the economic viability of his jurisdiction. Prince George’s County Executive-Elect Rushern Baker, in an interview with the editorial staff of the Washington Informer Newspaper on Thu., Nov. 18 at his law office in Greenbelt, said that the District and Prince George’s County have not worked together. ”We in Prince George’s County and in the District treat our border like it is the Berlin Wall,” Baker, 52, said.
Often, Black Americans focus much of their explanations for these circumstances on racism and discrimination. We, straightaway, argue that the solution is for Black Americans to start our own businesses. Any kind of business will do, we say. The key is to motivate Blacks to become entrepreneurs. Having achieved that, income and wealth inequality should diminish.
This is a simple minded and delusional hope. We all know that, “Hope is no strategy.” There has to be a better strategy that will produce meaningful and sustainable results.
Thoughtful economists take a more comprehensive view to Black American economic development. We say that Black businesses should be initiated more selectively; beginning with small service firms, expanding to larger service firms and small scale manufacturing, then up to large-scale manufacturing where big-ticket items can be produced and sold.
While this is a systematic and strategic approach, the fulcrum of the strategy appears to be missing.
Money is the lubricant of modern economies. Without an appropriate financial system, it is impossible to develop a sustainable economy. That is why we advocate centering Black economic development on the formation of Black-owned banks.
Once formed in a community, Black banks can leverage deposits and create loans for businesses that have the best opportunity to produce good returns. As businesses grow and create jobs, they produce ready customers for the banks, which permit banks to grow. In fact, a complete and virtuous circle is initiated when one begins economic
development with banks.
Black-owned banks in Black communities can even draw the traditionally unbanked poor into the formal economy and push egregiously exploitative pay-day and check-cashing operations out of business.
Creating a bank is not a very easy, but it is also not a very difficult process. It entails forming a corporation, and fulfilling Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s and state government’s requirements for chartering financial institutions.
The most difficult aspect of bank formation is meeting capitalization requirements. Today, in most states, it takes about $20 million to start a bank. That may sound like a hefty sum, but it is really quite small when you consider that it would take less than 30,000 Black American families to invest their average annual church contributions to form a bank. Just 20,000 Black households could form a bank if they saved $20 a week, amassed $1,000 during a year, and invested that $1,000 to create a Black Bank.
In other words, every major city in American with sizable Black populations should have one or more Black banks. Unfortunately, this is not the case. According to a March 2010 Federal Reserve Board report, there are only 30 Black-owned banks in the U.S.—one for every 1.3 million Blacks. Typically, these are small operations with
limited financial assets.
Black Americans can watch old Westerns television shows and movies and see that early towns in this country grew up around banks. Every day, we hear about the work of Chairman Ben Bernanke who provides oversight for the nation’s banking system, which is the life blood of the nation. Yet, it is anachronistic that we fail to see the importance of creating and maintaining our own banks. This is something that we can fail to do no longer.
It won’t happen overnight, but if Black Americans turn our attention to developing our own banks in our communities, then we can keep money in our communities, create businesses and jobs in our communities, and place the economies in our communities on a sound footing.
It is only under these conditions that we can expect our unemployment rate to go down substantially, our incomes to rise, and for our wealth to grow substantially.
Dr. B.B. Robinson is an economist and director of BlackEconomics.org, a resource for economic concepts, issues and policies affecting African-Americans.
(Loan Safe) – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today awarded $7.4 million to 10 historically black colleges and universities to help revitalize neighborhoods, promote affordable housing and stimulate economic development in their communities. The funding announced today is provided through HUD’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Program. Donovan made the announcement to the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference in Washington.
“All across this country, historically black colleges and universities are cultivating young minds and helping to revitalize local communities,” said Donovan. “I’m proud that HUD can be an important partner to assist these institutions of higher education in their efforts to strengthen our nation’s communities.
(AJC) — The first thing that strikes you when you walk into Tracey Sanders’ home – in the shadow of Turner Field – is her back wall.
Lined with five bookshelves, the wall houses more than 800 DVDs – mostly science fiction and full seasons of television shows. On an adjoining wall is a poster featuring the “101 Greatest Movie Quotes” of all time.
“My goal is to get every movie featured on the poster,” said Sanders, 43. “I think I only have about three or four, so I have some work to do.”
(AJC) — It was around 10 a.m. and already approaching the mid-90s.
Still, Lee Williams and his crew are working the corner of Collier Drive and Bolton Road at the edge of city-owned Collier Park. The community center behind them, for more than a year now, is closed.
“This park is too big for that center not be used,” Williams said. “And you wonder why kids are out here selling drugs.”
“Water! Water! Ice cold water,” Williams yells at passing cars and joggers. His crew, the Collier Street Steelers, some in their pads, hold out their helmets to collect the precious dollars to buy football uniforms.