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Achieving Real Freedom for Black Businesses

Last updated on June 13, 2022 by BVN

Vercie Lark and Ted James | United States Small Business Administration

Being black and moving away from a person who legally owned you came true on June 17, 1865, when Texas became the last state to implement the Emancipation Proclamation. The day, now known as Juneteenth, became a day of celebration for black Americans.

It was a start. However, as black Americans, we must continually ask ourselves, “Are we truly emancipated?”

While it is important to celebrate a day that freed our ancestors from the physical bonds and inhuman ability of slave owners to treat them as less than human beings, we should also look at the day as a reminder that we still have to successfully free black community. of the vestiges of restrictions, controls, and power structures that unite us far beyond the physical realm of being slaves.

Equity is a work in progress

Participating in capitalism through business ownership is one of them. Many people were then, and still reluctant to accept our access to all that our country has to offer. The pursuit of fairness, fairness and impartiality – at least from the federal government – has been attempted through years of judgments and judicial reforms. Still, equity in America, even after 157 years, is a work in progress.

  • According to one analysis of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, differences in business ownership account for 20 percent of the wealth gap between average black and white households. The analysis found that people of color, women, and those in rural areas are underrepresented in their share of total federal acquisition dollars, even relative to their low property rates in the general economy.

Seeing that all corrective action was needed by the government, the Biden / Harris Administration instructed more than 90 federal agencies through executive action to look for their agencies in search of changes they could make to provide more equity in services and programs to the neglected. a group that includes Black. Americans and other communities have been disproportionately affected by poverty and inequality over the years. In response, the agencies launched a combined total of 300 new actions to address barriers to equity in federal services.

Blacks are underrepresented in their share of total federal dollars in acquisition, even in relation to their low property rates in the general economy. (source: whitehouse.gov)

The federal government acquires 90% of its goods and services in the United States each year and is the largest buyer in the world, so access to the federal market is an obvious key to economic equity.

An increase in federal spending

The Biden / Harris Administration has set the agency’s goal of increasing federal spending on disadvantaged small businesses by 50% by fiscal year 2025. Based on that goal, the U.S. Small Business Administration has made several changes to give more access to small businesses. companies disadvantaged to federal hiring. dollars.

The SBA has worked with federal agencies to establish measures so that they can accurately track spending and publicly report on progress. That awareness has already raised government spending on disadvantaged small businesses to 11% this year, up from 5% the previous year.

In addition, the SBA has allocated more funding to resource partners who advise and train small businesses to not only enter the world of hiring, but also to start and grow their businesses. This funding added 24 new Women’s Business Centers in 2021, tripling the number of centers located on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and continuing the expansion of the largest WBC network in SBA history. With these new additions, the full list of WBC hosted on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) campuses now includes:

1. Morgan State University, Baltimore (MD)

2. Benedict College, Columbia (SC)

3. Virginia Union University, Richmond (VA)

4. Jackson State University, Jackson (MS)

5. Alcorn State University, Lorman (MS)

6. Winston-Salem State University, Winston Salem State (NC)

7. Bennett College, Greensboro, NC

8. Miles College, Fairfield (AL)

9. Bowie State University, Bowie, MD

10. Savannah State University, Savannah (GA)

In an effort to increase the number of black Americans participating in the SBA 8 (a) recruitment program nationwide by 12,000, the SBA is also expanding its reach with the National Urban League, specific fraternities and fraternities for black Americans and students of HBCU business. to expand their knowledge of business ownership and federal procurement.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is tripling the number of centers located on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. (source: morgan.edu)

Realistically, we know that these reforms will not work overnight to transform areas of poverty into rich enclaves or combat the many pockets of our nation where institutional racism or credit disparities still exist.

But if capitalism is to work to sustain the people of our nation, first our federal government, and then our entire country needs reforms. Poverty knows no borders. Struggle is struggle, even in a country that owns the greatest wealth on earth. And the federal government just can’t change that.

For capitalism to work: we must all commit ourselves to providing individually and collectively sound financial and business learning and mentoring experiences to our children and building community ecosystems where small businesses, wealth accumulation and active capitalism can exist.

The SBA and its resource partners are committed to providing training and advice on setting up and maintaining small businesses for each client, whether they live in a poverty pocket or in a rural town or are incarcerated because of their skin color or designation. gender. Visit us at www.sba.gov

For starters, the federal government is on track to address this issue. It may take a higher tide to lift some boats, but we will all have to paddle much harder together if we are to achieve equity and all the people of the United States can truly enjoy the freedoms promised by democracy and capitalism.

Right now, black Americans are still chained to financial slavery systems. You have to think beyond Juneteenth to keep looking for ways to access capital, which brings true freedom.

Vercie Lark is the administrator of Region 7 Great Plains and Ted James is the administrator of Region 6 South Central, for the United States Small Business Administration.

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