Minorities, who account for 35% of America’s population, own 4.1 million businesses. Minority-owned businesses generate just about $700 billion in revenue, employing nearly 5 million workers in the U.S.
So it is no wonder the Obama Administration decided recently to focus on minority entrepreneurs. White House officials, leading non-profits and business experts gathered at Rutgers University’s Newark campus for the Urban Entrepreneur Summit (UES). The Summit’s aim was to help minority entrepreneurs find ways to foster wealth within their communities.
The Urban Entrepreneur Summit is an event that is very important for our community and our nation. As we know, today’s innovations are tomorrow’s jobs and in the urban community we tend to lack access and education in the areas of credit, finance, marketing, branding and tax codes. Education in these areas will create jobs and opportunity,” says small business expert LaVon Lewis, president/creative director of Pencilworx Design Group, LLC.
The summit, organized in part by the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, offered minority entrepreneurs an opportunity to hear personal narratives of other successful minority entrepreneurs as well as network, and receive fundamental advice from policy makers and investment entities.
The Obama Administration, various non-profit organizations and start-up incubators, discussed steps they have taken to empower minority businesses. Among the actions have been attempts to get rid of some of the entrance barriers caused by tax codes, credit screenings, and even basic filing procedures.
In attendance were the White House Business Council, Office of Public Engagement and Domestic Policy Council, the Rutgers Business School’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED), Startup America Partnership, Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, Russell Simmons, the Fund for Public Advocacy – Office of the New York City Public Advocate, Operation HOPE, the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They gathered for the daylong summit to discuss ways to strengthen urban entrepreneurship.
“Summits like the UES will enable the urban community to create awareness and expand their businesses based on the tools learned at the summit,” says Lewis, who feels the summit needs to reach more entrepreneurs. “In the future, I think the White House should expand this program across the country in universities, chamber of commerce and entrepreneurship development centers. This will place the summit on ground level and help expand the education of the core areas of business. If business owners have the opportunity to attend a two day summit that features workshops, keynotes and interactive sessions it could definitely become a win-win for everyone.”
The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (Jobs Council), http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/advisory-boards/jobs-council, was created to provide non-partisan advice to the president on ways to create jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for Americans. The council included members appointed by the president among distinguished citizens outside the federal government, including citizens chosen to serve as representatives of the various sectors of the economy. The goal is to offer the diverse perspectives of the private sector – employers and workers – ideas on how the federal government can best foster growth, competitiveness, innovation, and job creation.
The goals of the council are to solicit ideas from across the country on how to bolster the economy and the prosperity of the American people. The council will report directly to the president on the design, implementation, and evaluation of policies to promote the growth of the American economy; enhance the skills and education of Americans; maintain a stable and sound financial and banking system, create stable jobs for American workers, and improve the long term prosperity and competitiveness of the American people; and provide analysis and information with respect to the operation, regulation, and healthy functioning of the economy and other factors that may contribute to the sustainable growth and competitiveness of American industry and the American labor force.