LOS ANGELES — Part of the solution to rising unemployment in African-American communities is the development of online businesses and information technology service providers, according to the co-founder of National Black Business Month, being observed for the sixth year during August.
John William Templeton, executive editor of blackmoney.com, identified the massive $48 billion stimulus investment in health information technology as a prime target for African-American entrepreneurs in Walls Come Tumbling Down: State of Black Business, sixth edition.
The former editor of the San Jose Business Journal is an expert on African-Americans in technology and selects the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology each year. He produced a documentary Freedom Riders of the Cutting Edge this year on the contributions of early African-American technology pioneers in the 1950s and 1960s and presented the Soul of Technology exhibit in Palo Alto City Hall during February.
In a speech in San Jose on Aug. 19 to the California Black Chamber of Commerce, he will detail how black IT companies can prosper in the economic downturn, particularly leveraging stimulus funding the growing number of state government programs to support African-American entrepreneurship.
National Black Business Month was created as a result of the first State of Black Business report, Loaded Dice, in 2004 by Templeton and veteran civil engineer Frederick E. Jordan. Its premise is to encourage consumers to visit at least one black business per day each of the 31 days of August.
One supporter, Dr. Robert Spooney, executive director of the Central Florida African-American Chamber of Commerce in Orlando, FL, featured Templeton on his WOKB-AM radio program Tuesday, Aug. 4. Spooney calculated that if $50 per day were spent at the 1.2 million black firms during August, it could generate more than $19 billion.
On Thursday, Aug. 6, Templeton suggests visiting African-American web-based businesses such as Blackbird browser (http://www.blackbirdhome.com), Soul of America (http://www.soulofamerica.com), IMinorities.com(http://www.iminorities.com), The Africa Channel (http://www.theafricachannel.com). Many of these sites offer opportunities for users to create their own businesses or to promote their ventures at very low costs.
Web-based offerings also include African-American financial institutions ranging from OneUnited Bank to Ariel Mutual Funds. “With the Internet, physical proximity no longer becomes a barrier to supporting African-American entrepreneurship,” said Templeton.