When the music changes so does the dance. – African Proverb
Identify and expose “interlopers.” Interlopers are those who call themselves part of the community, but will exploit and show others how to exploit us too. They also take payment for it. They can work in corporations, government, businesses, and elected office or in the church. This is currently OUR BIGGEST problem—those who will do a good deed in support of the community out in the open, but do two dirty deeds behind closed doors to undermine the community interest and black owned business are no exception.
We constantly hear support our community and support black business; by all means yes we should! And OUR COMMUNITY do not need permission to support predominantly black communities. By now most of us have seen the Nelson report about “Black Buying Power”; and understand that everyone is courting the black dollar at home and abroad. It is simply not attractive to the community to ask “spend your money with us” and give nothing back. It’s a two way street and until that occurs people will, out of habit, continue to go to everyone else’s businesses to shop.
Do we agree? It is imperative that WE ALL support the community. Our communities don’t need or want us running off with the money while people in the community still have needs for resources. We need to relate to those who are looking for a way to change their socio-economic profiles. We seem to continually demonstrate the “I got mine. Now, you [find a way] to get yours.” It is a turn off, to constantly hear our community asking black consumer to buy black, yet the other hand stuffed in our pocket.
Those of us that have the “know how” and the resources should start sharing these tools. Start by sharing the exact steps it took for YOU to get where you are at, not just talking at the community. Here is the key: we need to share it without having PROFIT as the end goal! We must provide a step by step layout of what to do, not the same old rhetoric! We could begin to create internships that offer learning opportunities for youngsters who desire to own and run their own businesses at one point. Offer something to the youth in the way of learning–if it’s nothing more than mentoring on how to balance a checkbook and create a budget–something. Another idea is to donate to an up and coming entrepreneur who is short on capital. Crowd funding is a great way to accomplish this.
Black People we need to be visible with our support. We need to team with youth groups–be they inside or outside–the churches, community centers. We need to model ourselves, perhaps, after long running established organizations such as The Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters. We need to come out of the cloistered settings of The Tip Top Club, for example and offer something our youth can grab onto.
The “draw” is the key. When we adults do something that grasps the attention of our youth they are more likely to line up around the block so to speak to get in to learn. Imagine, for an instant, how much can be gleaned from teaching young people how to teach others. If, say, someone is proficient in Math, it would be awesome to have that student teach others.
People in our community could offer grant writing class our youth in order to position them to plan for entrepreneurship and not just graduating and going on to college (if that’s a fit for the individual–because, clearly it isn’t for everyone). In addition, they can begin to formulate a business model and function in their own minds. As they progress they’ll learn how to present an idea to potential “Angel” investors (Black Owned Business) since banks typically do not fund start-ups from the black community; same thing as regards the SBA which has turned out to be a joke for most people of color.
Imagine Inner City youth creating employment opportunities for ex-felons coming home from the penitentiary? The possibilities are enormous. Imagine, too, if adult supervised activities in the community can turn the tide on many of the challenges these men and women face.
The easiest way for people to “overstand” drawing in the youth is to remember back to when we were a child. When the ice cream truck was spotted–and even before it rang its familiar bell announcing its presence–kids were already scrambling to line up for their favorite treat. We were already jumping up and down in excitement begging our parents for the money that would allow us to visit the truck.
That excitement, that drawing power is what’s missing today. Gone, for the most part, are the old fashioned ice cream trucks. Hell, most pizza places won’t even deliver to the Hood today. So it’s evident our kids and our community have little to no vision because they have little to no hope, and we as business owners in the community? We’re playing one-upmanship–with each other!
Guided by the mindset BBNomics has decided to make the commitment support up and coming entrepreneurs by supporting sustainable new projects, we encourage other black owned business as well as others in the black community to do the same.