The impact of the Black vote in 2020 resonated for more than 20 African heads of state as they heard a new consensus led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to fulfill the 2009 commitments to $100 billion yearly for African adaptation to climate change. Convened by the African Development Bank, they all agreed that the 3 percent of climate finance going to the continent is inadequate given that it is impacted more than any other continent. Yellen said, "Nowhere is the impact greater or more unfair than Africa." Kenyan President Umar Kenyatta said his country is the third most impacted from extreme termperature fluctuations. "We can only meet our goals if the major emitters raise their ambitions. Yellen has endorsed $650 billion in special drawing rights to help nations recover from the pandemic.
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that it was opening the application process for the Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP), a new initiative designed to support access to capital in communities traditionally excluded from the financial system and that have struggled the most during the COVID-19 crisis. The program will ultimately invest $9 billion in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository institutions (MDIs), supporting their efforts to provide financial products for small and minority-owned businesses and consumers in low-income and underserved communities. Treasury’s $9 billion investment under ECIP will complement the $3 billion of grants being provided by the CDFI Fund through the CDFI Rapid Response Program and the Emergency Support and Minority Lending Program.
ECIP will provide up to $9 billion in capital directly to depository CDFIs and MDIs to support the provision of loans, grants, and forbearance for small and minority businesses and consumers in low income communities. The program sets aside $2 billion for participants with less than $500 million in assets and an additional $2 billion for participants with less than $2 billion in assets. The funding will provide long-term, low-cost equity and subordinated debt for participating institutions to support low-and-middle income (LMI) communities.
“America has always had financial services deserts, places where it’s very difficult for people to get their hands on capital so they can, for example, start a business. But the pandemic has made these deserts even more inhospitable,” said Secretary Janet L. Yellen. “The Emergency Capital Investment Program will help these places that the financial sector hasn’t typically served well. It will allow people to access capital, especially in communities of color and rural areas.”
These programs are designed to provide relief at a moment when many households and small businesses are struggling as a result of the pandemic – and when that pain is not evenly distributed across the country. The American Rescue Plan that President Biden and Vice President Harris have put forward is designed to address that challenge, with measures focused on getting relief to underserved communities, including new emergency grants to help struggling small businesses, investments in state programs that support small business credit, and additional rental assistance to support families trying to stay in their homes. As the Biden-Harris administration works with Congress to pass that plan, Treasury is taking steps with its existing authorities to provide support to those who need it.
ADDIS ABABA--AUC Chairperson HE Moussa Faki Mahamat announced a Continental framework for the research and development of a COVID19 vaccine, its clinical trials and access modalities. The Africa Medical Supplies Platform has negotiated for access to high quality medical supplies at competitive prices form China, Canada, The Netherlands, South Korea and France for ventilators, PPEs and test kits as needed on the Continent. Local suppliers from the continent have also been added on the platform. The People’s Republic of China has committed 30 million testing kits, 10,000 ventilators and 80 million masks each month for the Continent.
Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, Director of the $35 billion Defense Logistics Agency, receives his 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology award from Vice Director Michael Scott. The Hampton alum retires in August after leading the supply chain for the U.S. armed forces.
50 Most selectee Gerald Commissiong, CEO of Amarantus Bioscience and Todos Medical USA, launches disparity surveillence testing in affordable housing in San Francisco July 11 and 25 with Journal of Black Innovation and Tabernacle Community Development Corp.
The team includes Meridian Health Services Network, Dia Carta Labs, 2M Clinical, Dr. Cheryl Bryant Bruce for a two-year commitment to test residents of Tabernacle's 1,000 units of housing at least weekly.
KINGSTON--Access Financial Services (JSE:AFS) named Christopher Williams as new board chair and Marcus James, above, as group chief executive officer. Caribbean Stock Index down 5.80 points or 0.61% to close at 946.47 points for the week ending July 3.
ATLANTA—Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) was awarded a new $40 million grant to fight COVID-19 in racial and ethnic minority, rural and socially vulnerable communities by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH), the institution announced today. MSM was selected to participate in a cooperative agreement with OMH “to lead the initiative to coordinate a strategic network of national, state, territorial, tribal and local organizations to deliver COVID-19-related information to communities hardest hit by the pandemic,” according to Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice , MSM President.
The initiative – the National Infrastructure for Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 within Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities (NIMIC) – is a three-year project designed to work with community-based organizations across the nation to deliver education and information on resources to help fight the pandemic.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The new dean of management at the University of San Francisco, Dr. Charles Moses, chairs a new initiative to place 10,000 new African-American workers in the next 12 months in San Francisco. The initiative was announced in an opinion article in the San Francisco Chronicle by National Black Business Month co-founder John William Templeton, who noted that only 1,000 of 144,000 new jobs between 2005 and 2017 went to African-Americans in San Francisco.
Moses, who came to USF as interim dean last year, set up graduate business education in South Africa at the request of the late President Nelson Mandela.
ALBANY -- Sen. James Sanders, D-Queens, has introduced a bill to create a New York State payroll protection program after seeing few of the small, black-owned firms in his district get assistance from the federal plan. Sanders is chair of the MBWE Caucus in the state legislature and of the economic development committee of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.
SACRAMENTO -- Two-third votes in the California legislature enabled Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, to achieve the goal of putting a repeal of the 1996 anti-affirmative action law Prop. 209 on the November ballot. Prop. 16, championed by the Legislative Black Caucus and the Opportunity for All Coalition, including several hundred groups around the state, would remove the ban which has cost minorities and women more than $1 billion yearly in state and local contracts. Edwin Lombard, pictured with Weber above, called the vote a "gamechanger" for black business in the state.
JOHANNESBURG--Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) meets with three labour unions to discuss the restructuring of South African Airways (SAA), the business rescue plan for the airline and voluntary severance packages (VSPs) for employees who will be retrenched. More than $1.2 billion is proposed to help the airline through losses due to the pandemic.
The DPE has been approached by National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) and the SAA Pilots Association (SAAPA) with the request to meet.
Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined a coalition of 17 attorneys general urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw its arbitrary and capricious proposal to leave the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter pollution unchanged and to instead strengthen those standards.
In a comment letter submitted today, Raoul and the coalition point out that the EPA’s own science, which already underestimates risk, shows that deaths from fine, inhalable particulate matter (PM2.5 ) emissions range from 16,000 to 17,000 annually. In addition to premature mortality, particulate matter is linked to many serious public health problems including cardiovascular disease, respiratory impacts and cancer. Particulate matter is a pollutant emitted from a variety of sources including vehicles, factories and construction sites, and research shows that low-income and minority communities are disproportionately exposed to particulate matter and the associated health risks.
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today helped win a major victory in the U.S. Supreme Court that preserves the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Dodd-Frank Act’s important federal consumer protections in the case Seila Law, LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Although the court held that the CFPB director can now be removed at will by the president of the United States, it agreed with the argument made in a multistate amicus brief, led by Attorney General James and joined by a coalition of 23 other attorneys general, fighting to ensure that the states can continue to benefit from powerful tools granted to both the CFPB and the states under Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act to safeguard against fraud and abusive consumer practices.
ADDIS ABABA -- The thorny negotiations over the water of the Nile River were led by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in a June 26 videoconference with the heads of state of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, who all agreed to African Union mediation and to meet again in two weeks.
At issue is the $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam across the Blue Nile River, which is the source for the larger Nile.
Ramaphosa, who holds the rotating chair of the African Union, noted that all three countries were founding members of the Organization of African Unity in 1963. A staff report concluded that 90 percent of the issues have been resolved, leading to hopes for an African resolution to the dispute
ATLANTA--Darnisha Harrison, founder and CEO of Ennaid Therapeutics, says that scientists working for her company have found a drug that is showing promise in laboratories at blocking the continued spread of COVID-19. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, her company uses its artificial intelligence (AI)-based drug discovery platforms to develop anti-viral drugs.
Harrison, who graduated from Louisiana State University, has already filed a patent after discovering a drug that shows strong scientific evidence of blocking two proteins that cause COVID-19 from invading healthy host cells and replicating.
The drug is called ENU200, a repurposed, patent-pending, orally deliverable antiviral drug that was previously approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a different indication.
Catalent, the leading global provider of advanced delivery technologies, announced a collaboration with Ennaid Therapeutics to develop an oral, antiviral treatment targeted at COVID-19. Under the terms of the agreement, Catalent will develop a powder-in-capsule formulation of Ennaid’s ENU200 program.
ENU200 was selected by Ennaid as a candidate to treat COVID-19 following a bioinformatic search for in silico identification of prior-approved chemical compounds blocking the coronavirus proteins, spike-S glycoprotein and the key coronavirus enzyme, Mpro. Catalent’s development site at San Diego will manufacture roller-compacted formulations of ENU200 within capsules for further investigation.
FT. LAUDERDALE -- Freddie Figgers Sr., founder of Figgers Enterprises, received the Roy L. Clay Sr. Technology Pinnacle Award from the Journal of Black Innovation. Clay, the first director of computer research and development for Hewlett Packard in 1965 and the first black student to attend a white Southern university in 1947, is a Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame member and the catalyst for the 19th annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology.
Figgers, at just 30 years old has built a more than $60 million company that makes his third edition smart phone, health care monitors, big screen televisions, manufactured in the United States, a cause Clay has championed since the mid-1970s when he launched Rod-L Electronics.
Figgers also provides satellite based phone service and is a premiere option for those seeking to avoid telecommunications monopolies for phones, medical devices and phone service.
In an interview in the January Journal of Black Innovation, Figgers described repairing a used Mac his adopted father bought from a second-hand store for $20 as a teenager. When his dad developed cognitive ailments, he created a location sensor and microphone on his dad's shoes. Figgers also applied for his first FCC wireless license because his rural Florida area got poor cell phone service.
SAN MATEO, Calif. – June 30, 2020 – Aryaka®, the Cloud-First WAN company delivering the #1 managed SD-WAN solution, today announced that it has partnered with Alibaba Cloud to extend the global leading cloud service provider’s innovative services to enterprises, both within China and internationally, in support of their digital transformation initiatives.
The partnership benefits Alibaba Cloud customers in China who wish to extend their reach abroad, leveraging a global service that integrates SLA-driven connectivity with application acceleration, security, WAN optimization, SaaS access, last-mile services, and global orchestration. The same advantages also apply to enterprises outside of the Alibaba Cloud footprint, who can now leverage Aryaka’s end-to-end global WAN for access into China. In effect, Aryaka is now providing a global on-ramp to the Alibaba Cloud.
“Alibaba Cloud is the #1 public cloud provider in Asia Pacific and China. We are thrilled that Alibaba Cloud has partnered with Aryaka as one of its global networking partners,” said Matt Carter, CEO of Aryaka. “The combination of the world’s best managed SD-WAN provider and Alibaba Cloud will help deliver a truly Cloud-First WAN to enterprises, modernizing their WANs.”
Gentem, has raised $3.7 million to help doctors run viable healthcare practices and remain independent. Gentem is building the infrastructure that will power the future of healthcare reimbursement and spur a new generation of medical and surgical practices while making current practices more efficient. This new round of funding will grow their engineering and operations teams to reach more healthcare providers.
Gentem transforms the reimbursement experience by not only handling the end-to-end billing and revenue cycle processes, but also paying physicians upfront for their services. Because they leverage automation, data science and access to financial products, Gentem is able to increase cash flow, drastically reduce account receivable days and uncover opportunities to increase revenue.
"The challenges physicians face often get lost in the conversations about the broken healthcare system. There are tremendous administrative complexities and waste in the health system; and doctors who run their own practices are not spared from these struggles," said Fisayo Ositelu, MD, CEO and co-founder of Gentem. "We believe that more doctors will choose to work for physician-owned practices because independent doctors have higher job satisfaction than those working for hospitals and can offer their services at a lower cost for patients."
Jerry Nemorin, CEO of LendStreet, has a set of options for the many families facing financial hardship due to the pandemic and recession. “I started researching consumers’ options when they become delinquent,” Nemorin said. “How do they get to a point where they can transition from financial distress to financial security? What are the tools and solutions available? I came to the conclusion that there really wasn’t a comprehensive solution on the market.”
He adds, “We realized there was a massive opportunity to create a solution that was comprehensive (and) that acknowledges the fact that this was an impaired credit,” Nemorin said. “And those creditors would be willing to take less than what was owed to them which allows us to provide a loan to the consumer based on what they can afford.”
ATLANTA -- Chime Solutions is fillnig the gap between two transformations -- the need for customer service and the abandonment of big box retail spaces.
CEO Mark Wilson is filling former malls in Atlanta, Charlotte and Texas with hundreds of call center workers with a goal of achieving 10,000 employees by the end of 2020. He notes that every job creates 2.5 more jobs.
Chime turns what could be considered drudgery into an exciting career by introducing gamification into the process flow, organizing employees as sports teams.
After hiring 1,400 in Clayton County, GA, Chime opened new facilities in Charlotte and Dallas. Wilson said the goal is a ten city operation.
SAN FRANCISCO--The frantic race to claim affinity with black-owned businesses by firms which 30 days ago banned their ads from appearing next to the word "black" is dizzying. We have seen more press releases written than checks. Most of the checks have been written to white-led organizations.
Now, we have gone from being invisible in business news to the cover story, we offer our insights from having published the past 17 State of Black Business reports and conducted 31 Ways 31 Days during August National Black Business Month and March Black Food Month since 2004.
The best news is that the way to impact the economic invisibility of African-Americans has already been figured out and it's not that difficult if we can harness the energy in the right direction.
The Color of Change/NAACP/NAACP Legal Defense Fund led advertising boycott of Facebook is the most promising initiative to come out of the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.
During this month of hiatus, it is a good time to save black-owned media from the knee in their neck from the advertising monopoly of Facebook and Google, by insisting that the 120 global advertisers who make the great bulk of marketing spending devote at least 15 percent of their buys to African-American media.
The past three months have made many of us content analysts of television. It is jarring that there are more news channels on American cable from the Chinese government than from African-Americans. We wouldn't have to march in the streets if we had the kind of news and information options which would be available with an equitable share of advertising based on our market size and the revenue our talent generates.
Equally important is Prop. 16, the initiative on the November ballot in California, to repeal Prop. 209, the 1996 measure which banned affirmative action by race, sex and age. The impact was to transform California from the leading state for black business to the sixth. Florida, which avoided a similar measure at the same time, went from having half as many black businesses as California in 1997 to twice as many by 2017. This is particularly important for south Los Angeles, Inglewood and Compton as the new Hollywood Park stadium and Olympics drive up property values. Governments need the tools to require equal opportunity in every stage. With a million black residents in the county, there is the opportunity to build large industries with the proper incentives. I'm pictured above with Brian Williams, COO, and Michael Lawson, CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League.
Five years ago, we introduced Our10Plan: the African-American economic strategy which can save a lot of frenzy. By increasing the capital of African-American banks from 0.6 percent of African-American income to ten percent, we can increase credit access to black businesses sufficient to have ten percent of the more than 3.5 million self-employed actually hire others, up from 132,000 currently. The 200,000 gain would create two million jobs, and each job creates 2.5 more in the broader economy. That wealth would power a gain of two million new black homeowners.
We also encourage 15 percent of education philanthropy and federal research go towards historically black colleges and universities and predominately black institutions. This is the best way to defund the police. A 1990s book The New York Murder Mystery reveals that the only explanation for a falling crime rate was the increase in blacks attending college.
The FUTURES Act looks puny with $222 million compared to the $500 billion bailout for big companies just weeks later. Robert Smith's $40 million grant to Morehouse needs to be the new minimum for contributors.
The drivers of the black economy are black owned banks and HBCUs. We must add a new accelerator by fulfilling the dream of DuBois, Garvey and Booker T. Washington to build trade infrastructure with the 80 African, Caribbean and Latin American countries with a black majority. That is the leverage that delivers liberation. Marching gets attention, but money creates change.
The first African-American editor of a business newspaper, with the San Jose Businesss Journal in 1987, Templeton created blackmoney.com in 1995 to cover Africa, African-American and Caribbean businesses. He frequently writes for The Hill, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News and is author of 64 books. Since 2004, he and Frederick E. Jordan, P.E. have presented National Black Business Month in August, now in the 17th year, and Black Food Month in March. Templeton selects the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology and publishes the scholarly Journal of Black Innovation.
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