segments of society are prospering, everyone benefits. Prospering minority communities help the majority prosper, too. And private enterprise offers the surest route to prosperity for minorities.
Minority-owned businesses hire and train minorities in their communities. They show young people that hard work and responsibility pay off. Both business owners and their employees spend money in their communities, further invigorating them. Every dollar that a minority-owned business earns probably has a bigger positive impact than one earned by a majority-owned business.
Diversity and more competition are good for everyone. As Barack Obama’s historic election demonstrated, the vast majority of Americans are willing to put aside old prejudices and judge someone by their accomplishments and their potential, not the color of their skin, their race, or religion.
Minority-owned businesses are diverse, too. They range from tiny startups to some of the most highly respected businesses. They’re in every industry—from local merchants to banks, insurance, and cutting-edge technology. Minority business owners are young and old, male and female, black and Hispanic, Asian-American and Native American.
The stimulus program will pump some $800 billion into the economy over the next two years. Ultimately, most of it is expected to go to businesses that will rebuild our infrastructure and create renewable energy resources, as well as to the firms that provide services to them—from accounting to food service to insurance. If minority-owned businesses don’t receive their fair share, President Obama would be wasting a golden opportunity to accomplish the many changes he has envisioned for our great country.
Ernesta G. Procope is chairman and founder of E.G. Bowman Co. Inc., a leading minority-owned insurance brokerage in Manhattan.