According to numbers taken from the Survey of Business Owners: Black-Owned Businesses: 2007, which is compiled every five years, metro Atlanta saw a 99 percent increase in black businesses from 2002 to 2007. In 2007, there were more than 127,000 black-owned businesses as compared to 64,000 in 2002 in the metro Atlanta area.
“More than 75% of the nation’s GDP is generated in cities,” shared the mayor. So, for him, “the urban entrepreneur is really the future if America’s economy is going to continue to grow.”
That’s why the Howard University alum, who won a tightly contested race that ended in a run-off election on December 1, 2009, has kept his eye on expanding entrepreneurship opportunities even as he has dealt with immediate crises such as pension plan reform and the headline-grabbing Atlanta Public School cheating scandal.
“Everything we’re doing today is about where I believe that the country is going and that the world is going and [I’m] positioning Atlanta at the center of that activity,” Reed noted regarding the importance of his administration joining forces with the White House for the Atlanta Urban Entrepreneurship Forum.
“In being a part of initiatives like today,” he said, “we are raising the level of interest and awareness regarding minority and women contracting opportunities with the city.” And that level, he noted, is substantial.
“Despite the fact that there are more minority business owners in the state of New York, no municipal government in the United States of America does more business by percentage of their budget and operations than the city of Atlanta does,” he boasted.
That precedent set by Atlanta’s first black mayor Maynard Jackson is one that Reed is committed to expanding. In addition to his continued support of the motion picture and television industry, Reed is eyeing a Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship where 20 women entrepreneurs will receive free office space and office resources such as computers and phones for 20 months because he believes “women haven’t benefited enough.”
The Atlanta native is crystal clear about his mission: “I want to make sure that, when I’m done being mayor, that the number of people that I helped has increased and that we had a program that was robust and fair and that we created a new cadre of entrepreneurs.”