A consortium of people of color doing business in the same community with the clever catch phrase, entrepreneurial enclave, is a key element in creating black wealth says small business advocate Kevin Wortham. As the director and co-founder of a nationally revered program that guides teens into owning their own businesses, Wortham is at the forefront of forming commonwealths that are chock full of minority-owned businesses.
Wortham is the director and co-founder of Minding Our Businesses (M.O.B.), a community outreach program at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. The program offers vocational and entrepreneurial training and development to young and mostly people of color across the regionwith a focus on New York and New Jersey.
Wortham said entrepreneurial enclaves must exist in multiple towns, states and regions in order for a black wealth initiative to grow and thrive. Often times, we think of Harlem as an entrepreneurial enclavea place where African Americans come together to do business, Wortham said in a recent interview with TNJ.com. He added that cities such as Harlem, Chicago, Los Angeles and Atlanta have long been places where large groups of African Americans gather in order to create and do business. However, smaller cities, such as Trenton, NJ and Tulsa, OK and similar areas are other options for enclaves. My notion has always been to create as many entrepreneurial enclaves as possible where minorities can come together to do business, he says.
Wortham, a native of Trenton, NJ, has been instrumental in forming alliances between students, businesses and various communities in and around New York and New Jersey. For example, last year he was able to secure funding for his organization from bio pharmaceutical giant and New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb to lead a pilot program designed to teach cell phone coding to students. The idea is to give students hands-on training about how to design application code for cell phones, he says. The hope is that when they get older and enter ninth and tenth grades, they can develop cell phone and application code for profit.
Lastly, Wortham offers this simple, yet cogent piece of advice to teen entrepreneurs, Ask yourself how bad you want what you want. Then get the educational backing to make all your dreams come true, he says.