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