One of the difficulties of going into business is the lack of infrastructure in many African-American communities. Businesses need a lot of stuff and a lot of services.
So one of the best ways to generate a lot of entrepreneurship is to encourage companies that make it easier to be in business.
Thought about it yesterday when I was working on an exhibit panel along Fillmore Street and needed some tape. At first I was upset about how many blocks I would have to go to get to an office supply store. Then, I smiled and remembered Ethio-Bay, a new copy shop opened in a senior housing complex owned by a local church.
The owner built a business around the fact that there was no where in the Western Additon to make a copy. Then, he added shipping services for UPS, FedEx and USPS, put in some rental computers and eventually began taking payments for local utilities. Nothing earthshaking, but just extremely convenient.
Just think how many African-American neighborhoods don’t have a place to make a copy or rent a computer, or print out a banner.
When core businesses like that open, they tend to open up opportunities for other folks with an idea who now can put it in print.