According to a recent economic analysis published by the Pew Research Center, Whites have 20 times the net worth of Blacks. The report further states that this disparity in wealth is the widest since the Census Bureau began tracking household wealth data in 1984. Black Americans household wealth even trail that of most first generation Hispanics. Within the last decade, Black Americans who experience a 16.2 unemployment rate have seen a 53% decline in household wealth among Black families
The Pew report attributes the wealth disparity to the impact of the economic meltdown in which minorities suffered record high unemployment and minorities, and sharp declines in the value of their chief asset- home ownership. White Americans, on the other hand, experienced unemployment but not to the degree of minorities, especially Black Americans. Furthermore, most Whites have diversified their assets, and many work in jobs in which they have 401 (k) retirement benefits which have began to rebound from the recession over the last decade. It is reported the 401(k) benefits and other stock funds account for 28% of white households’ net worth as opposed to only 15% for Blacks.
What all of this should mean for Black Americans is that it is now time for Black Americans to take control of our economic future. In order to close the wealth disparity gap, it will require that economically vulnerable communities begin embracing entrepreneurship as part of an overall strategy to eliminate poverty and build economic and self empowerment. It has been shown that Entrepreneurship provides an opportunity to gain control of one’s financial destiny through wealth creation.
Entrepreneurship is often credited, more than any other strategy, as the fastest means for connecting people and communities with opportunities to improve their lives and the lives of community members. Entrepreneurship provides individuals with the opportunity and means to thrive and prosper which in turn empowers them to build thriving and prosperous communities.
Small businesses are the back bones of our economy especially our minority and low income communities. Small businesses not only provide jobs which help to address the high employment challenges in many low income communities, but also spur progress and change in other areas in the community.
However, entrepreneurship in minority and low income communities is often hindered by two major factors:
1. Individuals who are not properly prepared to start and succeed in a business.
2. The lack of business opportunities, resources and capitol necessary to start a business.
Aspiring or existing entrepreneurs in low income communities, on average, find it more difficult to engage in business because they have less access to resources and capital in the form of skills, knowledge, experience, collaterals, credit, and business networks necessary to successfully engage in entrepreneurship. Many entrepreneurs also must contend with the predatory lending practices and the absence of entrepreneurial support services in addition to lacking resources, skills and capital.
In spite of these challenges, entrepreneurship should not be overlooked. There are a number of community based entrepreneurial programs that provide not only resources, but technical support to help aspiring entrepreneurs overcome the barriers they may face.
Entrepreneurship education and training programs provide the skills needed to start and operate a business especially since poor planning is one of the major factors that lead to business failures within the first 5 years of operation.
Entrepreneur training programs also provide an opportunity to network and meet individuals who are in a position to help provide needed resources and support to start and grow a business. Networking allows the opportunity to gather information about all aspects of business. Furthermore, networks can help access conventional finance services by advising on business plans, offering ongoing support and providing mentoring services and linking aspiring or new entrepreneurs to financial institutions.
If you are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship to increase your income and build wealth, there are a number of online programs and resources. The following are a few such resources that provide information for aspiring entrepreneurs.
- Small Business Administration.
- Business Magazines and books ( Black Enterprise, Fortune, Source)
- AOL Small Business
- Local entrepreneurial workshops sponsored by colleges and community agencies.
- Banks and financing institutions.
- Small Business Blogs
- Professional organizations associated with the business you want to form.
- If you would like further information, contact LSWStrategies1@gmail.com or visit lswstrategies1.com