I am excited and very proud that the conversation the Black Capital Network ignited in 2002 has developed into a new economic awareness in 2012. 10 years later we can see the progress! There are more African-Americans embracing entrepreneurship and the importance of developing stronger businesses to grow community and personal wealth.
The Black Capital Network was inspired by the spirit of collective entrepreneurship envisioned by great Black statesmen such as Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass. The objective was to highlight the many talents and services in our communities that are unknown or vastly underutilized – and to provide consumers with a choice. The Black Capital Network implemented this mission by highlighting African-American businesses in our business directory and in featured articles. However, the highlight was our annual signature initiative, The BCN Economic Empowerment Conference , hosted in Buffalo, New York. The conference, developed in an effort to highlight the importance of economic development and obtaining the skills necessary to help build successful businesses, featured national and local business leaders.
The Mission Continues
I am delighted to announce that we will introduce a new Black Capital Network website (http://www.thebcn.com) in the next two months. We call it the BCN 2.0. The mission is the same but small business owners will now have a robust national website to feature their business and connect with other business owners.
I have created this blog to keep the mission alive as the website is being developed. The Blog features Business (BIZ) Briefs to keep you in the know. There is a new energy in Buffalo and a laser focus on the growth of a new economy. New developments are happening at a rapid pace. So don’t be left out! Keep updated about the state of business – local, regionally and nationally.
A 10 Year Reflection
As I reflected on this evolution, I reviewed previous conference articles that I wrote. The words from my 2006 article still resonates today.
… The Black Capital Network has been proud to be the host of the Economic Empowerment Conference for 5 years. It has certainly been a labor of love, hope and encouragement. I can see progress and an atmosphere of innovation and thinking occurring. In recognition of the dynamic and motivating speakers, we have had during the past five years; we have selected a few of their articles to reprint. The message is pertinent and continues to educate and inspire.
This year we have chosen the theme of building businesses … building communities, because of the continual and urgent need to recapture the
African-American entrepreneurial spirit that built legacy businesses such as Black Enterprise magazine, Johnson Publishing Company and the Atlanta Life Insurance Company. However, part of this plan will require future entrepreneurs, many who are sitting in our local universities today. We encourage this younger, energetic and innovative generation to reach out, join in the discussion and the planning.
An active agenda to develop, retain and grow businesses is vital to the economic future of the Black Community. The development of high growth businesses and an increase of procurement opportunities for minority businesses could act as economic stimulus for this area. Let’s get creative and create niche businesses that meet the consumer needs and demands. The revitalization has begun. Buffalo is a mecca for economic opportunities. People are planning and implementing change. As the saying goes, the train has left the station. Are you on board?
Jennifer J. Parker
President & CEO of Black Capital Network
Words from the past that resonate today.
‘Our destiny is largely in our own hands. If we find, we shall have to seek. If we succeed in the race of life, it must be by our own energies, and by our own exertions. Others may clear the road, but we must go forward, or be left behind in the race of life.”
If we remain poor and dependent, the riches of other men will not avail us. If we are ignorant, the intelligence of other men will do but little for us. If we are foolish, the wisdom of other men will not guide us. If we are wasteful of time and money, the economy of other men will only make our destitution the more disgraceful and hurtful.” Frederick Douglas (1818 – 1895)