“People may be said to resemble not the bricks of which a house is built, but the pieces of a picture, each differing in shape, but matching the rest, and thus bringing out the picture.”
- Felix Adler (1851-1933), professor of political and social ethics and founder of the American Ethical Movement
In recent years I’ve given a lot of thought to what I view as a disenfranchised business community. As seen in Charlotte’s business arena, diversity appeared to be an issue that simply wasn’t addressed in what Ron Leeper describes as a “good-old-boy system.” Repeatedly I have found myself meditating on what the word “diversity” actually means. The Oxford Dictionary defines diversity simply as “variety.” To African-American organizations and associations, diversity is seen as an effort to make sure there is a greater representation of black entrepreneurs in the business culture. In this sense, diversity is more about equal economic opportunities. Overall, recognizing diversity can be the first step in a process that must lead to inclusion.
In a pursuit to understand what “diversity” means, Felix Adler’s description of “pieces of a picture puzzle” can provide a convenient framework around which to assemble the various views of diversity. As city leaders voice their concerns about disparities, this goes back to a question posed by former business columnist Ron Stodghill, “what is the real goal: Is it protect the Charlotte brand from negative publicity or to build a stronger, more diverse business community?” If the latter is the case, what does this mean for minority business growth?
“The Vision for Minority Business Growth,” also known as the 7-0-4 Plan is a revolutionary campaign to promote diversity and inclusiveness in the Charlotte, North Carolina business community. The movement is positioning itself as an initiative for growing minority businesses in the local community. The program’s purpose also looks to expand to enrich the lives and future of our youth by leveraging unconventional ideas. The 7-0-4 Plan, a community-based project, is founded upon five guiding economic ideas to foster entrepreneurship. The mission is to establish its presence as a trendsetting social media campaign designed to build support for a diverse business community via an infrastructure around minority entrepreneurs.
Execution of the 7-0-4 Plan would promote diversity and inclusiveness in the Charlotte business community and put the city on the fast track to explosive job growth and increased tax revenue base. The aim is to develop citywide resources and bring renewed economic growth and vitality through urban entrepreneurship. Through this campaign, we now have an unparalleled chance to spark minority business growth and to build a stronger, more diverse business community.
Toraine Lee is a blogger at www.The704PlanMovement.com. He can be reached at @torainelee or via email at [email protected]. To read the entire blog post, visit www.The704PlanMovement.com or join the conversation at the cause’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/The704Plan. You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @704Plan.