As an aspiring black entrepreneur and Charlotte, North Carolina native, I identify firsthand with the challenges minority entrepreneurs face in the business community. I also know the talent, dedication, and vision they need in order to reach their dreams. Without question, lack of access to training and capital are the principal reasons why opportunities are held from minority entrepreneurs. Consequently, small business growth within the black community stymied.
To begin to address the issue of a more united business community, I am introducing a revolutionary campaign to promote diversity and inclusiveness in the Charlotte business community. The 7-0-4 Plan – a community-based project – is founded upon five guiding economic ideas to foster entrepreneurship. To initiate a dialogue on how to spark minority business growth and to build a stronger, more diverse business community, I propose the following:
- Develop an entrepreneurial workshop to offer prospective businesspeople a six-month course on how to launch a small business.
- Create an incubation program to offer a group of novice entrepreneurs a focus of mentoring, networking opportunities, angel investing, and other resources to transform their raw materials of ideas into fully, formed job generating businesses.
- Create substantial alliances between black organizations to nurture entrepreneurial stability and economic growth among small business
- Create an economic development plan to address the following: incubation program, green economy, new growth industries, raising capital, initiative programs, and entrepreneur attainment for the youth.
- Utilize Beatties Ford Road corridor project to spark black-owned businesses and private development in retail, housing, restaurants, and amenities.
There is a spirit of entrepreneurship in the community that needs to be nurtured and energized. I am personally committed to a viable consensus on how to spark minority business growth and to build a stronger, more diverse business community. With the browning of America and an increasing borderless business environment, diversity will steadily become a way of life not just from 9 to 5 but from 5 to 9 as well. As our differences become a welcome part of a more dynamic business community, and world, we will not just talk about inclusion but live it.
Toraine Lee is a blogger at www.The704PlanMovement.com. He can be reached at @torainelee or via email at [email protected]. To find out how you can get involved to make a better Charlotte, visit www.The704PlanMovement.com or join the conversation at the cause’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/The704Plan. You can also follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @704Plan.