The latest unemployment numbers are not encouraging and in keeping with recent trends, African-Americans are faring worse than the rest of the country. But the Obama administration has a plan to help turn the tide by boosting the numbers of small and medium-size businesses in urban areas across the country.
The White House has teamed up with Rutgers Business School to host an invitation-only Urban Entrepreneurship Summit on Monday at the university’s Newark, New Jersey, campus.
“If we as a country want to attract new jobs in all of our communities we have to do a better job of creating and supporting entrepreneurs in our nation’s cities and when we do that we see good wages and families will be able to thrive and that’s the only way to win the future,” said Don Graves, executive director for the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
The summit will feature an array of workshops and break-out sessions aimed at equipping business owners with tools to compete in the global economy. Participants will examine best practices and potential incentives businesses need to thrive in a shaky economy. Organizers also intend to detail the barriers and challenges facing urban entrepreneurs, identify creative funding opportunities and highlight public-private partnerships that are readily available.
Hip hop mogul Russell Simmons will kick off the day with the opening address, followed by a host of other speakers and panelists including Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Small Business Administration Deputy Administrator Marie Johns, Operation Hope founder John Hope Bryant and New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
Recognizing the important role that young people can play in vitalizing the business community, a session called “Generation Next” is scheduled to equip the young business owner with the tools to both start and sustain a business.
“We’re going to talk about how we can spark awareness,” said Michael Blake, the associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement. “How do we spark the necessity of a new generation of urban entrepreneurs and say very clearly that there is a need to provide support about financial literacy and how to create business models so that members can support prospective mentees in business?”
There will be three panels throughout the day composed of experts in entrepreneurship, investment and government, and also four breakout sessions that will synthesize the information heard during the panels and offer solutions and programs to increase urban entrepreneurship.