Empowerment Experiment Shines Light on Black Business Blight - Page 2 of 3 - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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“The broader point is that a thriving African American community benefits society and this great country as a whole,” says John, in defense of the experiment.

If the growth of minority firms actually reflected the minority population growth, it would mean an additional 2.4 million firms and gross receipts of $2.5 trillion — nearly four times the current amount of gross receipts, according to a Minority Business Development Agency news release.

“It is not racist to help a community that has the highest rate of unemployment. That is strategic planning,” says Steven Rogers, the Empowerment Experiment’s executive adviser for entrepreneurship and wealth creation. “We have always proven to be the least racist of everybody. We have never been discriminatory with our dollars. We will spend with anybody. We don’t see any evidence of whites buying from black owned companies on any major level.”

“Supporting a minority-owned business is a way to maintain the economic balance, health, and vitality of your local community,” says John Simons, senior personal finance editor at Black Enterprise magazine. “Tomorrow’s great industries are going to spring from all corners of the country. In order for the U.S. economy to fire on all cylinders, the country needs all its entrepreneurs to have access to loans and capital, to expand their businesses, branch out, and even have the freedom to fail.”

Although some might think driving past a McDonald’s or a Lowe’s to find a black-owned fast food place or hardware store is inconvenient, the Anderson’s think the hunt is exciting, and they have learned how to be creative to reduce the hassle. For example, they mail money to the closest black-owned gas station in Rockford, Illinois, 83 miles away, which, in return, mails them gas cards that they use at other service stations.

Farmers Best Market owner Karriem Beyah says his 35,000-square-foot grocery store, which just opened July 2008, is the only black-owned grocer in the state of Illinois.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.


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