the food service industry. You’re either going to be one of them or you’re not going to be around very long. You’ve got to employ the synergies that you have in order to make your company bigger and more serviceable to the industry.” Goldston says he has such plans in the works for the Gourmet Companies, but declined to elaborate.
Should the sole focus of a strategy be on building a cadre of entrepreneurs? While this is critical, the board concluded it must be a multifaceted attack. “It can’t be just about entrepreneurs,” says Swinton. “For it to be a realistic strategy, African Americans have to decide that we need a new covenant in order for us to achieve our full potential. This is not a business issue. It’s a public policy issue.” As a collective, African Americans must invest in creating larger capital pools to be owned and managed, Swinton says. “The businesses aren’t going to develop through some kind of mysterious process. But if we create ownership, then we would be able to compete in the national markets and world markets and become productive business people in that arena.”
There must be a continued focus on partnerships between those who dictate and influence public policy and those who are empathetic to the growth of minority businesses “Again we talk about the issue of strategic alliances and access to capital. I think opportunities have to be generated in the private sector,ultimately because that is where we lose the game,” says Boston “African American entrepreneur. have to sit around the table and think strategically about their own survival and the expansion of businesses within the community and also more strategically about how entrepreneurship itself can facilitate community revitalization.”
THE DIRTY ‘R’ WORD
Playing the capital game with an empty hand. That’s how one board member describes the ongoing dilemma of blacks trying to cross the bridge from jobs to the creation of wealth. The notion of “40 acres and a mule” has been bandied about for years as an engaging, if unrealistic, thought of how best to level the playing field between African Americans and whites. At least one board member believes the notion has merit which should be seriously examined before being dismissed. “Reparations is a dirty word,” says Swinton. “But it seems to me we’re in a situation where we don’t have any ownership to speak of and that is not going to be corrected without something that is going to change that parameter. We’re in here: trying to play a capitalist game with no capital and we can’t solve the problem.”
But the consensus of the board was that in today’s social climate, the possibility of such an. occurrence was remote. Instead, they argued for broader coalitions with corporate America where both sides would see some form of economic benefit.
“The alliances have to be done with corporate America. Not in the way of something because `you owe me one’ because I don’t think that is going to be successful,” says BE