Today, when I observe the actions and thinking of many black entrepreneurs, I am both alarmed and dismayed. Too many take way too much pride in their credentials, corporate training, and business school degrees; operating with a misplaced sense of entitlement. Sadly, these same entrepreneurs see no problem with being the only successful black person in the room. In fact, they often take pride in it. Not only is doing business with and leveraging opportunities for other black entrepreneurs not a priority for these “special” would-be business leaders, it is actively dismissed and avoided. Now we wonder why, 25 years after the late Reginald F. Lewis established TLC Beatrice International as the first black-owned billion-dollar company, we have so few black-owned businesses of such size and scale today.
Credentials, education, and corporate pedigree have their place, but they simply are not enough for black entrepreneurs to compete and thrive in the global marketplace. Certainly, one should leverage their higher education credentials and corporate connections. However, please understand that black business cannot grow if we insist on isolating ourselves from other black entrepreneurs. It’s not enough for today’s black entrepreneurs to talk business. We must do business with each other.