Minority Business Enterprise; Must Be a National Priority

Article excerpt

Byline: Ronald N. Langston, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

In 2042, the United States will make a remarkable shift into a majority minority country. By 2050, the United States will be 54 percent minority. The Hispanic population alone is projected to nearly triple, from 46.7 million to 132.8 million between now and 2050, meaning 1-in-3 U.S. residents would be Hispanic. Clearly, the growth in America's workforce will come from minorities, and we must be poised to ensure that all Americans can successfully contribute to our economy and the nation.

The United States is once again a nation of immigrants. This new wave of immigration is people of color. Some will fear this change. I say, let us embrace and welcome the change. Some will complain about the burden and cost of immigration or the shifting of minority populations to majority. I say the positive rewards of inclusion, diversity and the strategic growth of minority business enterprises will far outweigh the negative externalities based upon fear and ignorance. The United States, more than any other country in the world, looks and speaks like every other country in the world. This is our strength and competitive advantage in a 21st century global economy.

The nation's four million minority-owned firms, who employ nearly 4.7 million people and generate approximately $660 billion, are in the position to generate long-term employment and economic sustainability in their communities. If the U.S. economy is to sustain its strength and global competitiveness, minority businesses must grow in size, scale and capacity, becoming a more viable engine of economic growth and wealth creation.

The business case for stimulating minority entrepreneurship and business ownership in the United States must be a national priority for America. The public, private, non-profit and faith-based sectors must aggressively pursue business and policy strategies that recognize the demographic changes underway - doing so is in the strategic interest of the United States.

In many instances, corporate and public policy leaders have supported the growth and expansion of minority business enterprise as a social activity and not a business imperative.Yet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, minority entrepreneurs are establishing businesses at a faster rate than non-minority entrepreneurs. Specifically, between 1997 and 2002, the number of minority businesses increased by 30 percent versus only six percent for non-minority firms. …