Megatrends Impacting Greater Black Supplier Inclusion

In this issue of the National Black Business News, the Black Business Association (BBA) shares how the pulse of equitable inclusion of small business enterprises is critical to our American economic recovery.  The predictable, the possible, and the preferred outcome of American black-owned and operated business enterprises necessitates watchful scrutiny.  Particularly as it applies to the interaction between buyers and sellers as gaining positive outcomes play a critical role in accelerating the pace for American economic growth.

With all of the regulatory requirements and policies set into action to include small businesses in major buying and procurement strategies, there still is no certainty on just how public and private sectors plan to increase their utilization of black-owned companies.  Knowing that the future is never a given, major buying organizations cannot become too preoccupied, consciously or not, with trends such as globalization; rapid advancing technologies; increasingly complex regulatory, environmental, and ethical requirements; revenue growth; preferred outsourcing partners; deep cost reductions; and the increasing pace of change in general.

Granted, these are real expansive trends; nonetheless, they are becoming the root cause why so many corporate executives are turning their staff away from community partnering.  State and local purchasing is essential to socioeconomic progress and the lack of attention to smaller enterprise is generating an overall assessment of considerable optimistic caution surrounding how corporate America is seemingly building a racial integration bridge to nowhere.  Even though small businesses create about two of every three new jobs each year; more than half of Americans own or work for a small business; and small businesses continue to drive American innovation and competitiveness in the 21st century, major contracting specialists are driving a wedge between black-owned businesses and significant contracting opportunities.

Take for example how corporate America has diverted staff’s attention from direct contracting to that of direct certification processes.  Business certification represents restricted trade since everyone is not required to participate.  It is based solely on racial lines with no inclusion for all races.  The spirit of entrepreneurial free enterprise is demarked like segregationist who push for more separation between races.  Lines of demarcation among suppliers are already professionally drawn by company size, revenue, accuracy and speed of delivery, bonding and credit access, number of employees and union affiliation.  Adding certification of gender and ethnicity is a throwback to segregation methods of demarcation among the races.  Granted certification is a super form of transparency knowing who actually owns a business, so let’s use this measure of performance and apply it to buying practices, knowing when and what purchases are coming in the near future.  Now that’s transparency!

Financial and non-financial executives realize there is a glaring challenge facing not just black businesses right now, but all small businesses which is to gain improved access to short and long-term lending capital.  Despite the expansive bailout funds, American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act and a host of other federal programs, black entrepreneurs are still having challenges with obtaining needed and desired commercial lending products for revenue growth and job creation.  Now couple this situation with a ripening racial divide and you create an eruption of a redundant demise in the progress of supplier inclusion and a widening divide in purchasing management and contract engagement processes all along color lines.

Another glaring example of how entrenched this racial exclusionary practice runs can be found in review of how the U.S. Congressional Ethics Panel has taken strange actions against the California Congresswoman Maxine Waters.  Congresswoman Waters is being singled out for doing the job of helping smaller community across America, like OneUnited Bank in Los Angeles, to build a lending portfolio that in turn could better assist black and other small businesses.  OneUnited itself is a black-owned financial institution, where the U.S. ethics committee finds exception with the Honorable Waters’ husband owning shares as a past board member of OneUnited.

The color lines of being black seem to permeate why this action by the ethics committee continues under a baseless accusation of conflict of interest, which actually should be proclaimed a champion for advocating community growth.  Her push for inclusion would not have been needed had major financial institutions better followed the Community Revitalization Act (CRA).  As I write this message, those require to follow the CRA are under scrutiny by federal regulators saying that the major banks are not efficiently administering its products to small businesses.  The end result of CRA activity benefits everyone, so why are those in charge dragging their feet; well I contend that they are preoccupied with megatrends.

Despite these nonsensical charges, it has not changed Congresswoman Waters’ commitment to engaging opportunities for smaller enterprises and access to capital as she leads the BBA Lending Pavilion, August 17, 2010 at Southwest Community College in Los Angeles.

There is an ever increasing integration tone in the socioeconomic tenor of America that is building a bridge of solidarity to nowhere.  Political attacks against blacks have increased since the election of 2008, where a gifted black/white man was elected President of the United States. By some public and private sector managers, our elected Commander-in-Chief has served to weaken their fiber of progressive racial integration.  Such mutinous individuals should be reminded that the spirit and intent of civil rights were to eradicate color lines and not thicken it toward leaving a more serious gap in how blacks are being systematically eliminated from political and economic growth opportunities.

These self-indulgent individuals are a functioning embodiment that their gains in America are somehow being taken.  Some have aligned themselves with new political parties thinking that they can make a social change back to overt conservative leadership.  There are too many thinking that Latinos are erroneously invading their country from southern borders, which is preposterous since border control is a most divisive and racist form of civil ‘wrongs’ practice.  Especially since if business and home owners would simply not hire undocumented workers the case of illegal border crossing would be remedied.  Where there is no remuneration for services there is no interest to reside in America.

Economic growth is the single most important social policy objective for America next to public safety.  But, for some odd reason, whether you call it affirmation action, inclusion, engagement, diversity, equal opportunity, civil rights, fair housing, and the list goes on, those individuals not mentioned within a set of laws or regulations as a protected group have serious heartburn with thinking that the goal of freedom in America is being eroded.  That notwithstanding, wherever we can allocate contracts, jobs and resources to black-owned and operated enterprises then it is good for all because it raises greater economic growth in a free market trade society.   Embracing diverse communities does not mean you end-up having fewer white people, it means acquiring and including greater resources for a greater America.