HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM -- Frederick E. Jordan Sr., P.E. was in southeast Asia on the Fourth of July as he reflected on why National Black Business Month is so important.
He pointed to a stained glass window in a Catholic Church on Maryland's Eastern Shore paid for by his ancestors in 1700, a century and a half before the end of slavery, because they were economically self-sufficient.
Like NBBM co-founder John William Templeton, whose ancestors included free farmers in North Carolina in the 18th century as well described in his book Grampa Jack's Secret, Jordan knows that the longevity of black institutions and culture, like Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, depends on the strength of African-American businesses.
In 2004, the civil engineer and Air Force veteran urged Templeton, first African-American to edit a business newspaper, to create real-time statistics on African-American businesses. As a result of the first State of Black Business report, they created the 31Ways31Days strategy for each August since.
Although both Jordan and Templeton are proud of their family histories, they realized that close to two million African-American innovators today are practically invisible, and often times, that lack of attention can be fatal.
#BLACKDOLLARSMATTER: State of Black Business, 12th edition notes that only one cent on the dollar of the minimum credit demand for black businesses is being met by private banks using the SBA guarantee program. SBA lending to black firms has been down as much as 80 percent from the peak in 2007, although the Federal Reserve's Survey of Small Business Lending indicates that each firm needs at least $15,000 in credit -- a total of $30 billion.
With the 100,000 black firms with employees generating one million jobs, it doesn't take advanced mathematics to see how to reduce the high rates of unemployment in African-American communities. Although 80 percent of jobs in the economy are created by small business, only six percent of jobs in the African-American community are created by black firms.
The objective of National Black Business Month is to provide the platform to discuss these simple economic facts as a matter of policy at the local, state and federal levels, not to hold social events. Through Templeton's daily newspaper, blackmoney.com, the most extensive local coverage of black business around the country is now being accelerated by a new mobile daily bulletin delivered to African-American senior business leaders and policy makers.
Jordan, also president of the San Francisco African-American Chamber of Commerce, continues to fight what he described in a book as The Lynching of the American Dream, the end of California's Prop. 209, which a recent study concluded cost minority businesses $1 billion yearly in California for the past 15 years.
To learn more about the 12th annual National Black Business Month, start with the data-rich #BLACKDOLLARSMATTER: State of Black Business, 12th edition, which includes the 10 Key Factors for Black Business Success, using a longitudinal data approach state by state since 1997 to determine best practices.