Dawn Of A New Era

Black businesses must develop a financial plan to remain viable in the new century

This can be accomplished in a variety of ways: helping to elect and re-elect local, state, and federal legislators who understand and advocate for small business issues and concerns. Schedule time to discuss your legislator’s positions on small business issues. Contribute financially to their campaigns or volunteer your time or place of business. Better yet, run for office yourself, or encourage other small business owners to run. Join other small business owners through chambers of commerce and small business associations, such as the National Business Association or National Federation of Independent Businesses, which monitor legislation and voice concerns to key government representatives. Get appointed to a small business advisory board at the city or state level.

Only through activism can you help ensure that small businesses — the driving force in today’s economy — will continue to forge ahead in the years to come.

“When it comes to contracts and economic development activity, it gets down to who you know and how strong your political contacts are,” says Robinson.

As we look ahead to the next 30 years and beyond, the outlook is that black businesses will continue their growth, success, and undeniable impact on the New Economy — if we include the above five keys to empowerment as part of our collective strategy for black business growth and profitability.

Spike Lee, filmmaker, director, ceo, spike/ddb on expanding our business horizons
We have to take advantage of all the opportunities that are happening now. A lot of people have given their lives so we could have them. We just have to mobilize. Some of the rhetoric that’s being put out there may have been good 25 to 30 years ago, but we’re in a new century. We’ve just got to make adjustments, move on, and move forward.

Right now, it’s all about ownership, entrepreneurship. But [regarding the way African Americans do business], I don’t think it should be, “All right, black people, this is the one way we’re going to go.” I’ve always said this and I will continue to say this until my last breath: we’re not a mono-minded people. I don’t know how smart it is to say that all black people should do just one thing, do business one way. I understand [the notion that black businesses should make an effort to stay in the communities in which they're nurtured], but I don’t think someone should be ostracized because they want to have a store on Fifth Avenue. They should not be labeled as a sellout because they’re not located in Harlem or Bed-Stuy [Brooklyn]. That’s backwards thinking. There is more than one way to help our community.

Spike Lee has established himself as one of the most influential filmmakers of modern times. An actor, writer, and director, Lee’s big screen, commercial, and music video work are housed under 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, located in his native Brooklyn, New York. Unabashedly outspoken, Lee, who is also the CEO of the boutique advertising agency Spike/DDB, has used his talent to encourage America to look in

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