As the nation grapples with civil unrest over police brutality and issues around Black Lives Matter, the U. S. Black Chambers Inc is addressing economic disparity by helping young black men in Washington, D.C. to become business owners. The organization has launched the first Young Black Male Entrepreneur Institute event at the City Club in the nation’s capital. This is the first of many in the United States. USBC is an organization comprised of self-sustaining Black Chambers and nationwide small business association.
During the event experienced businessmen shared advice on building successful businesses in the new economy with more than 40 up and coming young Black male entrepreneurs. On hand to address attendees were Ron Busby, president and CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and Harry Wingo, President and CEO of the DC Chamber of Commerce. Local black-owned businesses also had a presence, including Antwayne Ford, president and CEO of Enlightened, Inc., a HUBZone certified IT and management consulting firm, and William Clyburn Jr, president and CEO of Clyburn Consulting LLC, which provide business management services.
According to USBC, this pilot initiative provides young Black male entrepreneurs, both seasoned and novice, the opportunity to experience a specialized curriculum derived from our nation’s most competitive business schools and business development counseling in the region. The participants have the opportunity to collaborate with fellow entrepreneurs, network with successful chamber leadership and improve their local communities by creating jobs.
Through the USBC network, the young men will have access to resources and support to help sustain their businesses. Beyond creating wealth building practices, this initiative aims to reshape society’s negative perception of African American men by elevating their visibility and impact in business, community and leadership; and enhancing their interest in economic development.
“When approached by President Busby, Keith and I jumped at the chance to be instrumental in enhancing a diverse pool of young talented Black men who aspire to build legacies through economic empowerment as business owners and not just employees,” stated Howard R. Jean, Institute engineer.
“A fire was lit and it’s going to be amazing watching the paths to success created and blazed in the months to come,” added Institute organizer Keith Benjamin Jr. As business owners and social change agents, Busby, Jean and Benjamin Jr. take mentoring young Black men seriously, because doing so, they say, shapes the economic future of the Black community and society as a whole.