OUR10PLAN: the African-American economic strategy

Our10Plan: the African-American economic strategy was developed after the Michael Brown tragedy in Ferguson, MO during our Hands Up, Don’t Shoot Week. We realized that once demonstrators got the nation’s attention, there was a shortage of ideas about what to do.

The Founders of the 18th annual National Black Business Month each have more than five decades of experience addressing the business and economic perspectives of the African-American community as a civil and environmental engineer and as a journalist and historian.

Rather than start afresh, we listened to the wisdom of generations of African-Americans since 1504 to follow through on the objectives that they clearly stated and brought to fruition in the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendment.

These goals reflect the foundations already laid through their courage, dedication and genius and rely on the cherished institutions which have endured for centuries.

Our10Plan relies on a set of economic ratios which make the most immediate impact for African-American families and communities.

The Problem to Solve: The 47 million African-American population has an aggregate income approaching $1.3 trillion, equivalent to Russia or India, but no production capacity to supply its basic needs. Accordingly, the 13 percent of the population has a share of U.S. GDP of six percent. Our10Plan seeks to raise that level to ten percent as a baseline for healthy families and communities.

Ratio One: The number of African-American firms with employees has remained static during the 18 years we’ve prepared the State of Black Business reports at 135,000 although the number of Blacks in business has grown 45 percent every five years to three million. Achieving ten percent of Black businesses with employees, given the average of nine employees, would grow that number to 350,000 and increase employment by two million, enough to eliminate the unemployment gap between Black workers and the general population.

Ratio Two: Out of 700,000 business loans, only 10,000 go to Black businesses, as Pandemic to Prosperity cites federal data. Only one-thousandth of PPP loans went to Black-owned firms. As we discussed before 10,000 pastors at the Hampton Ministers Conference in 2017, it is our best move to increase the capital of Black-owned banks so they can make more business and personal loans. From $5 billion in capital among 20 banks, we should achieve the levels of growth being seen among African and Caribbean banks to grow that capital ratio to ten percent of African-American income — between $100-150 billion. The US Treasury has made the first significant investment in minority depository institutions with $9 billion from the 2020 appropriations bill and the American Jobs Plan includes another $41 billion if approved by Congress.

Ratio Three: Families can use the tools in 31 Ways 31 Days to plan to make ten percent of their discretionary spending with Black-owned businesses in person or online. That includes sectors not commonly thought of such as healthcare, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, non-profit groups, Black farmers and manufacturers.

Ratio Four: Because of the lack of capital, the number of African-American manufacturers with employees is around 1,000. This lack of manufacturing jobs is the source of neighborhood decay in urban and rural areas. Using government procurement, consumer demand and technology transfer from HBCUs, we have a goal of reaching 25,000 such manufacturers, particularly in life science and technology, as the anchors for smaller service and professional firms. The Dr. T. Nathaniel Burbridge Center for Inclusive Innovation has been created to match talent and capital in those growth areas. Your subscription to the Journal of Black Innovation includes a membership to the Burbridge Center and its daily programming year-round.

Ratio Five: Ten percent of federal and private research spending should go to HBCUs and PBIs to provide the scientific workforce needed to confront the challenges of the new millenium. This helps rectify the closure of 11 medical schools at HBCUs at the beginning of the 20th century which has resulted in a complete lack of growth in the number of African-American doctors for the past 40 years.

Pandemic to Prosperity: State of Black Business, 18th edition is our annual report on how to transform African-American communities with an economic strategy based on building globally competitive enterprises that drive supply chains. It describes how to carry out Our10PlanL the African-American economic strategy at the state and local level with practical measures. Look for our discussions of Our10Plan Sept. 29 for the San Francisco Planning Department and Sept. 30 during the National Urban League annual conference.