People of African descent have always been resourceful in the face of adversity, many times making something out of nothing. Give us lemons and some of us will make lemonade and sell it. The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred many Black entrepreneurs here and, in the Motherland, to create digital opportunities to expand their businesses and solve problems instead of focusing on the shortfalls.
According to the World Bank, Africa is headed towards its first recession in 25 years as a result of the pandemic. However, media reports reveal that digital technology is moving to the forefront as people find new ways to work and take their services online. Botho Emerging Markets Group identified three sectors that are poised to grow during the COVID-19 economic crisis.
Fintech – African Business Magazine reports that prior to the pandemic, fintech was the largest destination for venture capital investment in Africa, attracting over 50% of the $1.34 billion raised by African startups in 2019. Through tech-based solutions, African businesses have introduced new approaches to online payments, lending and investments. Already a primary tool of commerce in Africa, digital payments are now becoming more popular because of stay-at-home orders and the risk of infection due to the handling of cash. Many digital payment companies like Kenya's Safaricom, which operates mobile money service M-PESA, and Nigeria's Paga, have reduced fees during this pandemic. Lagos-based Paga now allows merchants to accept payments from Paga customers for free, a measure "aimed to help slow the spread of the coronavirus by reducing cash handling in Nigeria," according to a company release. Africa's largest innovation incubator, CcHub, recently announced funding and engineering support to tech projects focused on curbing the social and economic impact of COVID-19. The organization, with offices in Lagos and Nairobi, will provide $5,000 to $100,000 in funding to companies with COVID-19 related projects.
To read more Black Business Review, visit SCOOP USA Media, April 24, 2020, page 11
Millions of businesses, entrepreneurs and employees have been affected by the pandemic. Small businesses and nonprofits that need help staying afloat during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency have several options for financial assistance. My last column provided detailed information on local, state and federal resources. Below are updates on local, state and federal resources to help small businesses and nonprofits.
U.S. Internal Revenue Service COVID-19 tax relief update
The IRS website has updates on federal taxes and COVID-19 economic impact payments at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.
Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund update
To read more Black Business Review, visit SCOOP USA Media, April 10, 2020 - page 9
Small businesses that need help staying afloat during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency have several options for financial assistance from local, state and federal sources. Deadlines for federal and state income tax filing have been extended to July 15, 2020. The extension applies to both final 2019 tax returns and payments, and estimated payments for the first and second quarters of 2020. Millions of businesses, entrepreneurs and employees have been affected by the pandemic. Below are some local, state and federal resources to help small businesses.
Beech Business Bank
Beech Business Bank offers lines of credit to small businesses. It provides capital for existing businesses, new entrepreneurs and neighborhood organizations involved in community economic development in underserved communities in North, West and Northwest Philadelphia. Beech Business Bank is a loan program managed by the Beech Capital Venture Corporation and is a Certified Development Financial Institution of the U.S. Treasury Department. For more information and to apply go to www.beechinterplex.com/beech_businessbank.asp.
To read more Black Business Review, visit SCOOP USA Media, March 27, 2020, page 6
According to the American Express 2019 “State of Women-Owned Businesses Report,” Black-owned women businesses in the U.S. reached 2.6 million or 21% of all women-owned businesses, and had the highest rate of growth of any group between 2014 and 2019. While that’s a great improvement, women-owned businesses, especially those owned by Black women, have a hard time attracting venture and other investors.
However, the increase of women angel investors has generated more capital for women-owned businesses. What’s an angel investor? Angel investors are individual entrepreneurs who usually invest in start- ups. Angel investors take more risks than venture capitalists. Many angel investors act as mentors, may offer advice on running your business, help you make connections with lawyers, accountants, banks and assist with decision-making. Many successful women entrepreneurs have now formed angel networks to give other women business founders the help they didn’t get starting out. They also recruit and train women looking to become angel investors. Below are a few of the top angel networks that focus on women-owned businesses.
To read more Black Business Review, visit SCOOP USA Media, March 13, 2020, page 8
Things are moving forward in Senegal this year with the Senegal Oil & Power 2020 conference and the proposed building of Akon City by Hip Hop artist Akon.
Senegalese-American Hip Hop artist Akon has signed an agreement with the government of Senegal to build a city with a cryptocurrency-based economy named Akon City. According to Akon, who was born in Senegal before moving to Union City, New Jersey at age 7, the city would be built on land gifted to him by Macky Sall, president of Senegal. The new city would trade exclusively in Akon’s own digital cash currency called AKoin (www.akoin.io/). Cryptocurrency is a digital currency based on block chain -- a set of digital records that track transactions chronologically and publicly. In an earlier media interview, Akon said that he hoped that the city would be the first of many that uses cryptocurrency.
To read more Black Business Review, visit SCOOP USA Media, February 28, 2020, page 8
Ever since William Penn sailed up the Delaware River in 1682 with four enslaved Africans and founded the city of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, African people have been an integral part of this society. Whether enslaved or free, we always found a way to express our displeasure at our conditions and the way we were being treated through the written word.
The white media has never depicted us or our issues in a fair manner. Others may use their publications to promote fun, but since colonial times African Americans in Pennsylvania have used our publications to protest, promote our causes and organize our people. That’s the primary role of the Black press – to agitate and educate. Pennsylvania is fortunate to have had numerous publications throughout the state that carried on that tradition.
To read more Black Business Review, visit SCOOP USA Media, February 14, 2020, page 9
Are you a small business owner or thinking about going into business for yourself? No need to learn by trial and error. Philadelphia has a wide range of organizations and programs that provide resources to help you succeed. Listed below are some free resources that will help you get started or grow your business successfully.
The Women's Business Enterprise Center (WBEC-East) Orientation & Business Assessment Workshop, February 4:00PM -- 5:45 to 8:00pm 1315 Walnut Street, Suite 1124 Philadelphia, PA, 19107
This workshop provides assistance to women looking to start a business. The Orientation and Business Assessment workshop will give tips on how to organize and clarify. Attendees will complete a self-assessment to clarify your current business needs. You will learn about the WBEC-East and its resources and determine which WBEC-East resources best fit your current needs. The discussion will also include how to network, gain support and identify prospective clients and resources. The workshop will be led by Isabel Krome, WBEC-East Business Training Program Manager. Registration is required. To register call 215-790-9232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To read more Black Business Review, visit SCOOP USA Media, January 31, 2020, page 7
Over 15 years ago while attending a meeting of the Minority and Women Business Enterprise Statewide Taskforce in Harrisburg, I was blessed to meet and interview the late, great Arthur Fletcher. Known as the “father of affirmative action” for his crafting of the Philadelphia Plan, Fletcher who was a lifelong Republican, is credited with starting the affirmative action movement in the U.S. He was the keynote speaker at our luncheon and focused a lot of his comments on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) that has recently come under attack.
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is a landmark civil rights law enacted in 1977 to end discrimination in America’s banking and housing markets, and to end the practice of “redlining” by financial institutions. Established under the Roosevelt Administration, redlining is where a red line was drawn on a map around neighborhoods to which financial institutions did not want to offer services and made it almost impossible for racial and ethnic minorities and their neighborhoods to access mortgages and business loans regardless of their qualifications or creditworthiness. The CRA states that “regulated financial institutions have continuing and affirmative obligations to help meet the credit needs of the local communities in which they are chartered” and established regulations for monitoring the level of lending, investments and services in neighborhoods traditionally underserved by lending institutions. Examiners from three federal agencies, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which examines nationally chartered banks, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve Board – both which examine state-chartered banks, are required to assess and “grade” lending institution’s activities in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.
To read more Black Business Review, visit SCOOP USA Media, January 17, 2020, page 9
The business world has changed tremendously during the last decade due to new technologies. Many businesses operate entirely online providing opportunities to start your own business while working full-time. I’ve always believed that everyone, especially Black people, should have what some call a side-hustle or gigging to fall back on when you are downsized, laid-off or retire. Trust me it will happen. Now days, you can’t afford to rely solely on a job when companies are closing left and right. Below are a few ideas that can open the door to starting your own business in 2020 with little to no financial investment.
• Virtual Assistant -- Virtual assistants perform the same tasks that an administrative assistant does except you can do it from home and for several companies. You might do data entry, answer emails or prepare and distribute reports – all online.
• Bookkeeper – Focus on small businesses that need help preparing balance sheets and ledgers.
• Tutor – This is a great opportunity for those with teaching experience and expertise in certain subjects and can be done online as well as in person.
• Website developer/designer – Most businesses need websites. If you have basic web design and coding skills, you can focus on small start-up businesses that need a website, but don’t have those skills.
To read more Black Business Review, visit SCOOP USA Media, January 3, 2020, page 6
2019 was a rough year economically for Black people in the U.S. and especially in the Philadelphia region, with Philly being one of the poorest large cities in the nation. With all of the economic problems here in the U.S. we still out-performed many other economies. However, whether that will continue into 2020 will depend on the leadership of the federal government and if they continue disengaging from trade agreements. American trade tensions have escalated due to the “leadership” or lack thereof in the White House. Politicians and business leaders on all levels must understand that it’s a new world and make growth inclusive or suffer the long-term consequences. Many countries are facing structural uncertainties that could have far-reaching, systemic implications for the global economy including ours.
To read more Black Business Review, visit SCOOP USA Media, December 20, 2019, page 6
Freedom is always a topic of discussion among people of African descent throughout the world whether we are in the Motherland or in the diaspora. Whether it’s freedom from colonizers or freedom from enslavers, taking your freedom isn’t free. That’s right, I said “taking” your freedom. No-one is going to give you freedom, it has to be fought for and taken.
Our African ancestors throughout the diaspora took their physical freedom with hundreds of insurrections – 1570 Gaspar Yanga Revolt of Mexico, 1605 Quilombo dos Palmares of Brazil, 1791 Haitian Revolution, 1831 Nat Turner Rebellion of Virginia, 1842 Cherokee Slave Revolt (against Cherokee enslavers), Maroons Wars of Jamaica, 1812 Aponte Conspiracy of Cuba, 1811 German Coast Uprising of Louisiana, New York Slave Revolts of 1712 and 1741, 1739 Stono Rebellion of South Carolina, 1733 St. John’s Insurrection of the Virgin Islands, 1548 and 1579 Bayano Wars of Panama, Curaçao Slave Revolt of 1795, 1822 Bahia Slave Rebellion of Brazil, 1816 Bussa’s Rebellion of Barbados, 1795 José Leonardo Chirino's Insurrection of Venezuela, 1763 Kofi’s Slave Rebellion of Guyana, 1763 – 1793 Suriname Slave Wars, and others too many to name.
In the Motherland, our ancestors fought against colonial rule. In 1896 Ethiopian King Menelik II defeated Italian invaders. The 1906 Zulu Rebellion, 1915 Chilembwe uprising of Nyasaland, Maji Maji Rebellion of Tanzania, Mau Mau Rebellion of Kenya, 1947 Malagasy Uprising of Madagascar, 1954 Algerian War, and the 1961 Portuguese Colonial War all were stands against colonial domination of African people. In order to gain freedom you have to give up something – your comfort, your way of thinking and sometimes your life. The business of freedom ain’t free!
To read more Black Business Review, visit SCOOP USA Media, December 6, 2019, page 6
The first public bank in America was established in Pennsylvania by Quakers during the Colonial Era. By the 19th Century, the public bank concept was being explored by several states. In 1919, the Bank of North Dakota was founded to provide affordable credit to farmers, ranchers and businesses trying to stabilize the state’s economy. Since then, it has grown to provide low-interest loans to small businesses, start-ups and students, in addition to providing mortgages, and buying municipal bonds used to fund public projects by local governments.
In 2011, grassroots community organizers tired of Wall Street’s shenanigans and the unethical private banking system, organized the Public Banking Institute (PBI) as an educational non-profit to explore the possibilities and facilitate implementation of public banking at the local, regional, state and national levels. The organization is working to establish a network of publicly-owned banks that will create affordable credit and allow communities to declare financial independence. Modeled after the successful Bank of North Dakota, these banks would be mandated to act in the best interest of its residents and use their credit-generating ability for community needs like infrastructure, clean energy, affordable housing and other programs important to the residents. In 2016, the Territorial Bank of American Samoa was established to provide affordable financial services to its citizens, more than 50% of whom live at or below the federal poverty level. To date, 30 states have proposed legislation in support of publicly-owned banks.
The Pennsylvania Public Bank Project was formed to further the movement for public banks in the Commonwealth. In 2012, PBI held their first national conference in Philadelphia and another in 2014 that attracted 200 people from throughout the nation. The Philadelphia Caucus, led by Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks, was established to promote the public bank movement in Philly. Since then, the movement has spread to Pittsburgh, Reading, Luzerne and Washington Counties.
To read more Black Business Review, visit SCOOP USA Media, November 22, 2019, page 7
Many times when veterans return to civilian life they often find themselves unable to readjust, fit-in or find suitable employment. When engaging homeless people in conversation you will find that many of the men are veterans. Instead of being jobless some vets decide to become entrepreneurs. There are several resources on the national and state level that vets can access to assist them in establishing and growing their businesses if that is their choice.
The U.S. Small Business Administration celebrates and empowers service members during National Veterans Small Business Week. November 4 to 8, 2019 is the sixth annual celebration of veteran entrepreneurs with a variety of activities and programs. The 2019 theme was “Mission #VetBiz Success,” where the tools and resources used to help veterans on their journey to small business success were highlighted. If you’re a veteran just starting your business or expanding it, SBA has programs to support you throughout the year.
The SBA Office of Veterans Business Development facilitates the use of all SBA programs by veterans, service-disabled veterans, reservists, active-duty service members, transitioning service members, and their dependents or survivors. Some of the programs geared toward active-duty service members and veterans include:
• Boots to Business is an entrepreneurial program offered on military bases around the world and includes a training track of the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The Boots to Business Reboot extends the entrepreneurship training offered in TAP to veterans of all eras in their communities.
• The Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program (WVETP) provides entrepreneurial training to women veterans, women active-duty service members and female spouses of service members and veterans to assist them in starting or growing a business.
• The Service Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program (SDVETP) provides training programs to service-disabled veterans who aspire to be small business owners or currently own a small business. The SBA funds entrepreneurship training programs for service-disabled veterans through grantees like the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) at St. Joseph’s University. The EBV specifically provides education and mentorship for post-9/11 veteran entrepreneurs.
To read more Black Business Review, visit SCOOP USA Media, November 8, 2019, page 6
The Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunities (DACO) recently sponsored its second annual Cannabis Opportunities Conference at Temple University’s Medical Education & Research Building. The two-day conference brought cannabis entrepreneurs, advocates and elected officials together to discuss legislative updates, wellness issues and business development in the cannabis industry. DACO promotes awareness of opportunities in the cannabis industry to Black and Latino communities to address the inequities that currently exist and seek to ensure marginalized communities have access.
Co-sponsored by State Sen. Sharif Street who is in the forefront of the movement to legalize cannabis in Pennsylvania, Minorities for Medical Marijuana, Women Grow, Medicinally Jointed, MOMED, Inc. and Green Dandelion, the conference included panels and sessions on subjects like the history of cannabis and its criminalization, medicinal uses, investing, workforce education, cannabis business development and advocacy.
Black cannabis biz
Black entrepreneurs were well-represented among the Cannabis vendors selling a variety of products. Products included hemp seeds, skin and hair care products, pain management products and hemp clothing. WaKanna Dispensaries (https://wakanna.com/) is a new network marketing company launched by four African American women that include Illinois State Sen. Dr. Patricia Van Pelt-Scott, with the goal of becoming the “largest and most reputable minority-owned cannabis/CBD oil company in the world” through a network of distributors and agents. Beatrice Foster, a local Wakanna distributor, represented the company at the conference. Local cannabis entrepreneurs like Theresa Clark of Empress Herbal Products (www.empressherbalproducts.com) sold hemp-based pain management and skincare products that include balms and oils for beards and tattoos.
See more Black Business Review, SCOOP USA Media, October 25, 2019, page 6
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of General Service recently released its “2018 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Disparity Study” conducted by BBC Research & Consulting, to evaluate the effectiveness of its Small Diverse Business (SDB) Program.
Kerry Kirkland, DGS Deputy Secretary, Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion & Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO) recently discussed it at a local forum on “Challenges Facing Small and Diverse Businesses. Kirkland said the study is the first time in the history of Pennsylvania that resources were designated for a disparity study using empirical analysis and that it’s the most comprehensive disparity study in the nation.
In an effort to encourage the participation of SBs (small businesses) and SBDs, DGS has implemented several programs. Those programs include: 1) Hosting contracting workshops designed to help SBs and SDBs participate in state contracting; 2) A mentor-protégé program to provide assistance to verified SDBs to help them bid and perform successfully on state contracts; 3) Pennsylvania Supplier Portal which allows businesses to submit electronic bids for contracts and manage their companies’ information; 4) An e-alert subscription service through eMarketplace to receive e-mail notifications about bid opportunities specific to their industry; 5) Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) across Pennsylvania to provide technical support and resources to small businesses that want to contract with the state; 6) Most importantly, requiring that all subcontractors be paid within 14 days of the prime contractor receiving payment for services or the subcontractor may bring action on the prime contractor’s payment bond.
Read more Black Business Review, ScoopUSA Media, October 11 page 6
“Minority” businesses in cities across the nation will celebrate Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week in October. During that time, workshops are held and awards are given. But, what happens after the week is over? Things go back to normal. What’s normal? Businesses owned by people of color and women continue getting mere crumbs from the economic table while white males sit down to enjoy a sumptuous meal. This is especially true in Pennsylvania.
Last week, entrepreneurs joined government officials and representatives of the private sector in a forum on “Challenges Facing Small and Diverse Businesses,” hosted by AmeriHealth Caritas and the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce at the Penn’s Landing Hilton Hotel. Moderated by A. Bruce Crawley, CEO of Millennium 3 Management, Inc., the discussion included presentations by Kerry Kirkland, Pennsylvania Department of General Services Deputy Secretary, Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion & Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO); State Sen. Sharif Street, 3rd Senatorial District; and Iola Harper, City of Philadelphia Deputy Commerce Director, Office of Economic Opportunity. Private sector participants included Valerie Cofield, CEO of Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council, a certification agency, Ron Baldwin AmeriHealth Caritas’ director of Supplier Management and Diversity; and Maria Mendoza, CEO of the Mendoza Group, Inc. The forum was the third in a statewide series sponsored by AmeriHealth. Previous forums were held in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.
Read more Black Business Review, ScoopUSA Media, September 27 page 6
The first reparations agreement for slavery since British Emancipation in 1838 was recently signed by University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Glasgow in Kingston, Jamaica. The £20 million agreement was signed July 3, 2019. The first of its kind in the western world, the agreement brings to closure negotiations between the two institutions that began when the University of Glasgow published a 2018 report revealing that between the 1780s and 1880s it received millions of pounds in grants and endowments from Scottish and English slave owners that enriched and physically expanded the 600-year-old university.
The terms of the agreement call for the University of Glasgow to provide £20 million to fund research promoting joint development initiatives to be undertaken with the UWI over the next 20 years. Twenty million pounds was the amount of reparations paid to slave owners by the British government when it abolished slavery in 1834. The agreement is the first time a slavery-enriched British or European institution has apologized for its role in slavery and committed funds to facilitate a reparations initiative via a regional development approach to reparations through establishment of the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research.
Read more Black Business Review, ScoopUSA Media, September 13, 2019 page 7
by Marian Kai Jewett
Economic development strategies in Africa and building partnerships between African people throughout the Diaspora has been the subject of discussion for some time. It continued at the 9th Annual African & Caribbean Business Council (ACBC) Winter Conference. With the theme of “Building Capacity for African and Caribbean Economic Development,” much of the discussion was on building infrastructure, forming partnerships with African-American businesses and China’s involvement in the economic development of the continent.
Among the 2018 “Top 10 fastest growing economies in the world,” according to the World Bank, six of them are in Africa – Ghana, Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Senegal and Tanzania. International business experts know this – African-Americans don’t. China’s not alone in investing heavily in Africa. Russia and India are also investing big on the continent.
Read more on Scoop USA Media, November 23, 2018.
Next year will be a crucial year for global African business entrepreneurs throughout the Diaspora. We have the talent to succeed, now we have to put it to collective use. Starting and growing Black-owned businesses has been a hot topic for the past few years. I’m born into a family of business owners on my mother’s side. Although some of them worked for white folks, they had their own businesses–hotels, real estate, variety stores, funeral parlor, plumbing, landscaping and laundry businesses. They even managed to found an AME Church that’s now 107 years-old. Quite a feat for African-Americans in the early 20th Century in South Florida. I followed in their footsteps and my first business was creating paper dolls/clothing for my classmates in elementary school. After graduating from Howard University, I immediately began a consulting business although I was employed by others. My ancestor’s example taught me that even if you work for someone else, it’s always good to have a side hustle than can morph into a full blown business should you be “downsized” or retire. “Know how to do more than one thing and work for yourself” is my motto.
Read more.. check out the December 7th edition of Scoop USA Media.
The Fair Housing Act of 1968 – one of the greatest legislative achievements of the Civil Rights Era – is 50 years old. Whether some realize it or not, housing is big business and keeping certain people out can mean more revenue for those planning, developing and building communities. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, appraisal, advertising and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin or gender. Fair housing was one of the issues Martin Luther King, Jr. lobbied for and was one of the foundations of the civil rights legislation of the 1960s.
Read more on Scoop USA Media, December 21, 2018.
During Black History Month the African Holocaust aka the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade is usually discussed in terms of its horrors and its cumulative effect on us as a people. The business practices that evolved from slavery are rarely if ever discussed. The Jamestown Colony in Virginia is considered by some as the beginning of the United States--but so is slavery as its economic foundation. The impact of the slave trade had a profound effect on the economic growth of this nation and the New World as a whole.
Read more, Scoop USA Media , February 1, 2019
On Cecil B. Moore Avenue, in the heart of North Philadelphia, is a small company that’s successfully using the concept of social enterprise to reimagine and revitalize disadvantaged communities in Philadelphia. What is social enterprise? Quite simply, social enterprise is when an organization uses business principles and strategies to solve social problems with the ultimate goal of empowerment and self-sustainability.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, February 15, 2019
People who say they want to support Black businesses, but don’t know where they are now have no excuse. In an effort to support and promote Black businesses in the community, Beech Community Services has published the 2019 Philadelphia Black Biz Directory which will be inserted in next week’s SCOOP. The directory includes over 400 African-American, African and Caribbean businesses in Philadelphia.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, March 1, 2019
The African & Caribbean Business Council of Greater Philadelphia recently introduced its new leadership team at its first monthly membership mixer. ACBC is the only business organization in the Philadelphia region that specifically focuses on trade with African and Caribbean nations, and is connected to the fast growing markets in Africa and the Caribbean through its partners and membership.
ACBC’s executive leadership team led by its new president Victoria Senome, has taken the reins of the organization with vision and passion. Senome, who has a background in risk management, business development, international trade and strategic planning, is committed to efforts that would help Africa claim its rightful place as a major economic player in the global market. Since January, this group of dynamic, young entrepreneurs has stepped up ACBC’s marketing strategy with a new, informative newsletter and brochure, monthly membership mixers and a calendar of events. I always say, if you want something done correctly, get a Black woman to do it!
Read More, Scoop USA Media, March 15, 2019
Black women throughout the Diaspora are moving towards entrepreneurship versus working for others by following the tradition of their African Ancestors. In ancient Africa, women traders ran the marketplace on all levels. That same tradition exists today. The marketplace was/is organized on several management levels – retail, wholesale and import/export. Publicly-recognized wealthy women traders in local markets are called market queens, while large wholesalers who trade across markets and abroad, are call merchant queens. We are the descendants of the ancient market and merchant queens and the sisters of the present queens. Running businesses is in our blood and no-one can do it better than a Black woman. Women-owned businesses in the U.S. are increasing more each year.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, March 29, 2019
There was an old-time block party at Broad & Cecil B. Moore Avenue on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. The band was pumpin’, the singer sang “Disco Inferno,” while the crowd joined in with “burn, baby burn!” The people were feeling the spirit as old-heads Alfie Pollit, the “Philly Bop King” and Dr. Walt Palmer, advisor to us young activists back in the day, grabbed some sisters and started bopping. It was a joyous occasion and a great celebration as SEPTA and the Cecil B. Moore Freedom Fighters unveiled two historical panels on the outside of the Cecil B. Moore Subway Station, on the day that would have been his 104th birthday. You could feel his presence in the midst of a party he would have certainly enjoyed.
Read More Black Business Review Marilyn Kai Jewett, Scoop USA Media, April 5, 2019
The more things change, the more they stay the same. As we say in the hood, same sh_t, different day.
The spectre of gentrification continues to spread in North Philadelphia with Temple University continuing its arrogant encroachment west of Broad Street with the launching of a North Central Special Services District. A deceptive media advisory with a headline declaring “North Philadelphia Neighbors, Temple University partner to launch special services district” was circulated in an attempt to give the impression that this was the community’s idea. Far from the truth.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, April 12, 2019
Anyone paying attention to the news knows that fair housing is a big issue in the Philadelphia area and across the nation. Housing is big business with landlords and developers fueling gentrification and displacement in search of a larger profit. Like it or not, for businesses large and small, gaining a bigger profit is the bottom line.
“Redlining, Gentrification, and Displacement: Why Protected Classes Should Hold Government and Private Sectors Accountable for Causing Civil and Human Rights Crises” is the subject of a community meeting being sponsored by the Fair Housing Rights Center in Southeast Pennsylvania from 6 to 9pm, Monday, April 29 at Church of the Advocate, 18th & Diamond Streets. The meeting is being held in recognition of Fair Housing Month and the 51st anniversary of the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act, to raise public awareness and knowledge of the law. The FHRC also will unveil their “We Must Dismantle Redlining Project” and a special report on redlining, gen- trification and displacement in Philadelphia. A 27 year-old nonprofit civil rights organization, the mission of FHRC is to ensure equal access to housing opportunities for all. Even though the economy has improved for some, Black people have seen a decline in home ownership close to the levels of the 1960s Jim Crow era.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, April 26, 2019
Family is an integral part of the African American culture often celebrated in pop culture television shows and movies like “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Blackish,” and “Soul Food”. These shows epitomize the strong African American mother who is eclipsed by the stronger African American grandmother both flanked by supportive husbands, precocious children, and nosey aunts and uncles. The African American family, depicted in the media in myriad ways, is iconic.
We laugh at the silly sitcoms of the African American family on TV, but do the media images hold some semblance of truth? We see the staunch, yet regal, hardworking mother who is the mouthpiece of the family, quick to throw her house shoe at her “smart mouth” kids. She is sassy on her own, but a force to be reckoned with when her sisters show up only to give lip service to the husband who gets the big piece of chicken at family dinner. These images of the African American family illustrate family values the most prevalent being “family is everything.” The importance of family and the values the entity brings has a long history.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, May 3, 2019
More than half of the people living in the United States work for or own a small business. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses create two out of every three new jobs in the nation annually. For more than 50 years, each May the SBA has celebrated National Small Business Week, which recognizes the important contributions of the nation’s small business owners.
Congrats to Philly’s own Cassandra W. Jones, Ed. D., CEO/President of Next Step Associates, LLC that was named the SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania District Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year. For 15 years, Next Step, a premier training company for public and privatesector and government agencies, has helped clients increase skills and overall performance in the areas of accountable leadership, workforce development, diversity and inclusion, curriculum development, executive level coaching, and more.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, May 10, 2019
I’m sure everyone has heard about the generous gift of billionaire Robert F. Smith who during his commencement speech at Morehouse College, announced his pledge to pay-off student loan debt for the entire 2019 graduating class of the prestigious HBCU. However, since colonial times African people in America have used philanthropy to free themselves and uplift their communities. Black philanthropy grew out of the entrepreneurship of both enslaved and free Africans in this nation. Early Black philanthropists used their financial power to fight against slavery, fund education and establish intuitions.
Stephen Smith, born in Pennsylvania around 1795, bought his freedom by the time he was 21, and made his fortune in the lumber and real estate business in Pennsylvania. He also was an abolitionist and funded the Freedmen’s Journal and the Emancipator newspapers. Smith hid runaways in railroad cars he used to transport coal and lumber on the railroad line he owned. He also supported Philadelphia’s Institute for Colored Youth, Home for Destitute Colored Children, and established the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored Persons which was renamed the Stephen Smith Home after his death in 1873.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, May 24, 2019
A few years ago, I got an email about public banking from good friend and former client Stan Pokras, founder of Nonprofit Technology Resources, which brought computer technology to the grassroots community. Although NTR no longer exists, Stan is still in the forefront of initiatives to make things better for the people. He’s been in the forefront of the movement to bring public banking to Philadelphia and has been talking it up to me for years. Now, I’m starting to hear what Stan’s been saying and I think it’s a good idea.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 7, 2019
Each June during Odunde Week, several events sponsored jointly by the African & Caribbean Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, the Mayor’s Commission on African & Caribbean Immigrant Affairs founded by Councilperson Jannie Blackwell and Odunde 365 provide opportunities to meet and network with business leaders from throughout the African Diaspora.
Tunisian philanthropist Olfa Terras, founder of the Rambourg Foundation, was welcomed to Philadelphia for the first time with a City Hall VIP reception. A businesswoman, Terras holds a master’s degree in finance from l’Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Tunis and a law degree from the Sorbonne in Paris. She worked as a financial analyst on European derivatives in London for several years before establishing her foundation that promotes education, art and culture in Tunisia. The mother of five uses her business expertise to battle against violence and extremism by giving hope to and helping young people achieve their full potential through education, art, and culture. A Human Rights Watch Ambassador for Tunisia, Terras was part of the movement that sparked the Arab Spring, and is in the forefront of the democratic transition to engage young people and women to obtain leadership positions. Terras currently is a candidate for president of Tunisia.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 21, 2019
Some may know Gisele Fetterman as the “Second Lady of Pennsylvania” – the wife of Lt. Governor John Fetterman. However, she is much more than that. In my opinion, she’s an angel in disguise. We connected during the gubernatorial campaign and reconnected recently at a VIP reception at the Kimmel Center in her honor. I almost stayed home because of the weather, but Spirit said, “Go, Gisele will be there and you need to talk to her.” I always listen to the voice, so I went and I’m glad I did. Gisele is an extraordinary young woman who is second to none. I really like John Fetterman, but I love his wife!
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and raised by a single mother, she came to the U.S. when she was seven years-old. Her mother fled Rio with Gisele and her brother to escape the violence that permeated the city. They landed in Queens, New York where they lived in an apartment her mother furnished with items others had discarded as trash. Although her mother was a nutritionist with a doctorate, because of her undocumented status she worked as a domestic and a coat check girl. The family later moved to Harrison, New Jersey.
Gisele learned English by watching “Mister Rodgers Neighborhood,” was a member of the National Honor Society in high school, and studied math in college before changing her focus and earning a license in holistic nutrition. She then began working in Harrison and Newark focusing on issues of food insecurity--something she had experienced as a child. That was the beginning of her advocacy for access and equity to healthy food for those most in need. She read about the work John Fetterman, then mayor of Braddock, PA was doing to revitalize the small struggling city and contacted him to see how she could help. They met several times, she moved to Braddock and the rest is history.
Read More, Scoop USA Media Digital July 5, 2019
Twenty years ago, the European Union adopted the euro as its currency in an effort to reduce problems with trade among European nations. The ECOWAS nations in West Africa recently did the same by announcing plans to adopt their own shared currency – the eco – by 2020. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is comprised of 15 nations located in Western Africa that have both cultural and geopolitical ties, and share common economic interest. The ECOWAS nations are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte D'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. The adoption of the eco would make trade easier and allow people to travel across borders without losing money due to fluctuating exchange rates. A common currency would also mean a shared fiscal policy.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was trying to introduce a single African currency linked to gold under a “United States of Africa” before he was murdered by European forces with the support of President Barack Obama. Gaddafi wanted to introduce and only trade in the African gold dinar -- a move which would have thrown western economies into chaos. The adoption of the eco is a step in the direction of monetary independence.
The Francophone nations in ECOWAS -- Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo -- currently use the West African CFA franc as a shared currency. However, many see it as a continued tie to France and see the eco as a way to break free from the legacy of colonial rule. On the other hand, some in Nigeria are cautious about letting go of the naira for the eco because if the eco fails, Nigeria would lose more as the largest economy in Africa.
However in a 2016 report, the African Development Bank made a strong case for the adoption of the eco, citing the shared power of African economies working in unity to navigate tough economic issues. Once the objections are worked out, West Africa could have a shared monetary/fiscal policy and a shared currency in the eco, which could help increase economic growth, trade and cooperation between the member nations. For more information on ECOWAS go to https://www.ecowas.int/.
Read more Marilyn Kai Jewett, Scoop USA Media, July 19, 2019, page 11
Are you a struggling small business owner or thinking about going into business and need some business education but don’t have the time or money to go to school? Before you launch your business there are basic things all prospective entrepreneurs should know in order to be successful. Below are resources that provide FREE online training to help you meet your goals.
The federal Small Business Administration offers a free small business online training series of easy-to-use courses that explore business basics. Each course takes about 30 minutes to complete and include audio explanations, videos and podcasts. Series subjects include starting a business, managing a business, financing a business and contracting. For more information on SBA online courses go to https://www.sba.gov/learning-center.
Marketing your business is essential to its success. The Kutztown Small Business Development Center offers 44 free online learning programs in addition to nine how-to videos on various sales and marketing topics. One of the largest collections of free, entrepreneurial training resources in the nation, their online learning program is sourced from the SBA, IRS, Small Biz U and custom programs from the Pennsylvania SBDC Network.
To access these valuable courses go to https://www.kutztown.edu/about-ku/administrative-offices/small-business-development-center/resources/free-online-learning-programs.html.
Read More Black Business Review, Scoop USA Media, August 2, 2019, page 11
The recent mass murders in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio have brought the issue of gun violence back to the forefront of news and discussion. For those of us who live in urban areas like Philadelphia, Baltimore, D.C. and Chicago, gun violence has always been in the forefront. Gun violence impacts the U.S. economy annually with millions lost in victims’ wages, productivity and medical costs. Gun violence also impacts economics on the community level. According to the Urban Institute, neighborhoods where gun violence is prevalent experience reduced economic growth, fewer new start-ups of retail and service businesses leading to fewer jobs for residents, and lower property values.
Despite that, the gun violence industry is a big part of the national economy. The recent mass shootings are a part of the marketing strategy for both sides of the gun violence issue and there is always an upsurge of advertising and lobbying after an incident. There are thousands of companies making money manufacturing, distributing and selling guns, ammunition and supplies, and those supporting the industry. The industry also includes those on the gun control side, political lobbying firms and nonprofits on both sides engaged in the battle, all with vested economic interests.
Fear, the desire for self-defense and the need to protect has led to an increase of business in the gun violence industry including businesses related to gun violence -- from buying a gun, pepper spray or installing a 6-foot-high security fence. Increased gun sales are driven by concerns for self-defense and fear that more gun control legislation could make guns harder to access legally. As a result, new markets around gun violence have developed that includes companies making profits off the efforts to solve gun violence. According to Forbes Magazine, the security alarm business brings in $25 billion a year. The federal Department of Labor reports that there are 1.1 million security guards employed in the nation. Companies target both consumers and governments with products like military weapons, gun locks, safety devices and smart guns. Businesses are now marketing bullet-proof backpacks. Shooting ranges have seen increased business. A new woman-owned business, Babes With Bullets, a shooting training camp for women promoting the role of women in the gun culture, is one of the new businesses in the industry.
Read more Black Business Review, ScoopUSA Media, August 30, 2019 page 6