Today’s news includes the revelation that Detroit no longer has a chain grocery store.
The list of challenges facing new Mayor Dave Bing is daunting, particularly after the bankruptcy of both General Motors and Chrysler.
However, there is an ancient saying that danger and opportunity are two sides of the same sword.
Detroit, like another devastated predominately black city, New Orleans, and sections of every metropolitan area in the country, have a great opportunity to revive the foundations of their neighborhoods.
We describe in Walls Come Tumbling Down: the State of Black Business, sixth edition the eight steps which any state or city can take to dramatically expand their black-owned businesses. There are examples like Prince George’s County, MD, which has more than double the number of African-American computer professionals than any other county or Florida, which doubled its black businesses in six years. Leadership and policy do make a difference.
There is a shortage of 1.2 million black self-employed from the number that would be expected based on the labor market. Although we now have more than 1 million African-American entrepreneurs, we could easily support twice as many, a number that corresponds to the disparity in unemployment rates.
It’s going to be places like Detroit and New Orleans where that rebound occurs. Some body needs to sell groceries in Detroit. During August, the sixth annual National Black Business Month, we describe how individual consumers can help black businesses fill those needs by simply making a conscious choice to support the companies which give back to their own community.
It is a problem that goes far beyond the current economic crisis. Many of those being laid off from factory and government jobs are at a stage in life where it is unlikely that they will be able to get comparable jobs. Policy makers can design mechanisms that allow turning accumulated experience into businesses. We call it “second wave careers.” That prevents families from winding up destitute as retirees without adequate savings or pensions.
Black America’s recovery can be aided greatly by government, but we as consumers need to do our part. Visit blackmoney.com’s mybiz page to learn what policy steps will make it easier for our neighborhoods to grow economically.