Lowry: Carter played a significant role in minority business development

By Jim Lowry, senior advisor, The Boston Consulting Group Inc., and president & CEO, James H. Lowry & Associates


I was saddened to hear that former President Jimmy Carter has entered hospice care at his home in Georgia. He served four years as the 39th president of the United States. He had a substantial number of achievements during his time as president.


• He dealt with the energy shortage by establishing a national energy policy.

• He expanded the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act protecting more than 103 million acres in Alaska. Expanding this act created 13 national parks, 16 wildlife refuges, two national forests, two national monuments, two conservation areas, and 26 wild and scenic rivers.

• He facilitated the Camp David Agreement of 1978, helping to reduce tension between Israel and Egypt. This agreement led to a peace treaty between the two countries the following year.

• To increase human and social services he created the U.S. Department of Education, bolstered the Social Security System, and appointed a record number of women, Blacks and Hispanics to the government.

Unfortunately, for many, Jimmy Carter will always be remembered for the terrorists holding 52 Americans as hostages for 14 months. However, for me I will always remember President Carter as the most effective and inspired president for advancing the cause of minority business enterprise development (MBED). I give President Richard Nixon credit for institutionalizing MBED in the federal government in the early seventies, but it was President Jimmy Carter working with Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, Rev. Jessie Jackson and Congressman Parren Mitchell who passed legislation and established policies that changed the mindset of the nation. In particular, five laws moved the needle:


1. The amendment to a $4 billion public bill, an alteration that required both state, county and municipal government seeking federal grants on public works projects to set aside 10% of contracts for minority-owned businessess. 

2. Public Law 95-89 that increased loan authorization and surety bond to guarantee authority to minority business.

3. Community Reinvestment Act which encouraged financial institutions to help meet the credit needs of communities in which they operate.

4. Public Law 95-507 which mandated that bidding for federal contracts more than $500,000 for goods and services and $1,000,000 for construction must be submitted before contract awards with a plan with a percentage of goals for utilization of minority business.

5. Executive Order 12138 which required all federal agencies to take affirmative action in support of businesses owned by women.

These laws and regulations and the leadership of our civil rights leaders inspired more minority students to take more business classes and attend more graduate schools of business. Jimmy Carter changed the mindset of highly educated minority professionals to seek careers in business as executives or entrepreneurs. He lit the fires in the late seventies; the fires are burning hotter in 2023.


2002 Jimmy Carter was awarded The Nobel Peace Prize “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”


I end by saying thank you, President Jimmy Carter, for all you have done for minority business enterprise development and our nation. 


Jim Lowry The Boston Consulting Group Inc. James H. Lowry & Associates President Jimmy Carter 39th president of the United States national energy policy Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act Camp David Agreement of 1978 minority business enterprise development MBED

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