Supporting Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses Must be a National Priority

By Connie Evans

WASHINGTON -  After Noemi Prado had devoted 29 years to working for Southwest Moulding in Grand Prairie, TX, the owners decided to close the business. But Ms. Prado gathered her retirement savings and other financing to purchase the company, a transaction that has sustained and created jobs for 40 people in her community.

A key aspect of the financing was a $825,000 loan that she received from the Valley Economic Development Corporation’s (VEDC), a non-profit organization that provides affordable business assistance services, direct financial assistance, and entrepreneurial training to minority businesses and entrepreneurs.  “If it wasn’t for VEDC, it wouldn’t have happened,” Ms. Prado said, noting that it was difficult to obtain traditional bank financing.  

Research by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) shows that a large percentage of people want to be like Ms. Prado and run their own businesses.  At the same time, however, many would-be entrepreneurs lack the access to mentors, capital and support networks that could help them get up and running.      

That’s the problem our nation faces.

Small businesses are actually creating a higher percentage of new jobs than big companies, but entrepreneurs and small business owners struggle to get the access to capital and the knowledge, known as ’trusted guidance’ in the microbusiness industry, that they need to start or sustain their businesses. The reality is that significant barriers limit opportunities for business owners of color.  They face discrimination in the banking world, have fewer wealth assets, and often lack the technical skills, like financial management, to make their dreams and aspirations come true.

Yet, there are new developments that are slowly changing the landscape for minority entrepreneurs and small business owners.


Breaking Down Beliefs of Racial Hierarchy

By Dr. Gail C. Christopher
America’s Wire Writers Group

WASHINGTON, DC - Fifty years ago, the Civil Rights Movement led to a series of laws banning public discrimination.  African Americans were no longer barred from certain restaurants, some schools were integrated and fair housing laws created more living options.  But today, it’s clear that court rulings and legislation didn’t change the root cause of conscious and unconscious bias – the widespread belief in racial hierarchy still exists. 

As a nation, we didn’t understand the power of this belief, this misguided notion that some people are either superior or inferior because of the color of their skin.

This bias manifests in many ways. Unarmed men and women are killed by police and civilians, the justice system seems tilted toward whites, and there remains unequal treatment for children and adults when it comes to health, education, housing and employment.  David R. Williams, a sociology professor at Harvard University, cites studies showing that when whites, blacks and Hispanics visited hospital emergency rooms with the same ailment, white patients received pain medication more frequently than people of color.

Does that make the physicians racist?

That may not be the case. With the advancements in neuroscience, we now know much more about the power of the mind. We understand that unconscious beliefs are deeply held, that centuries of this belief system have unconsciously shaped how some of us respond.  But now, 21st century technology – YouTube, cell phones, dashboard cameras, body cameras – are leveraged to shape new beliefs about our humanity. They are capturing and exposing vivid samples of people of color abused and dehumanized. We must move beyond the absurd notion that some people have more value than others.



By Dr. Dana Suskind

More than 20 years ago, studies began appearing demonstrating that there is a vast vocabulary difference between children of different socioeconomic backgrounds.   In fact, a study by University of Kansas researchers Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley even determined that at age three there is an incredible 30 million word gap between wealthy and poor children.

Clearly, with a higher percentage of poor children among minority families, initiatives must be directed to help all children, but particularly in communities of color. All parents can adapt measures that reduce the gap and encourage vocabulary development in their children.

 Seven years ago, I launched the Thirty Million Initiative to counsel and partner with parents on what they can do to improve learning and development opportunities for their children.  My recent book, Thirty Million Words: Building a Child's Brain, explores the powerful science connecting parent talk to building a child’s brain and encourages parents to help their children reach their full potential.

It’s heartening to see the impact of parents who are adopting some of our recommendations.

Shurand Adams, 27, of Calumet City, Ill., has been working with her' daughter, Teshyia, who is now five years old and just started kindergarten.   From 2010 to 2012, the African American mother participated in a pilot study with other parents.  Child development experts visited their homes and explained the science of children’s brain development. They discussed techniques that could be used in helping their children learn, such as the "Three Ts," which encourage parents to "tune in, talk more and take turns.”


America's Wire Staff

Michael K. Frisby
Nadra Kareem Nittle
Staff Writer
Kimberly N. Alleyne


America's Wire

The news media in the United States have been a guardian of the public’s interest. Our nation’s history is filled with episodes during which enterprising reporting, often by the bravest of journalists, has altered the course of public policy for America, and at times, changed our society.




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