By James H. Lowry, senior advisor, The Boston Consulting Group Inc.
Recently, the godson of one of my associates was killed one block from his home. He was a good kid, an honor student and a loving son. When asked by his attackers to give up his shoes, he gave up his shoes but was killed anyway. When my associate shared this story, I immediately became angry and depressed.
This senseless crime reminded me that, in the United States, we are going through some seriously challenging times, and the racial wealth gap is real. It also reminds me why I have devoted 40 years of my life to minority business development to increase wealth and jobs, narrow the wealth gap, and bring hope to our communities.
Recently, I shared a personal message on Martin Luther King Jr. Day stating although we are going through difficulties, we must remain optimistic and work together with a positive state of mind. This attitude is particularly true within the minority business development community — a community I have been a part of, working with many dedicated advocates who represent the foundation of the movement. As I have said often, we should support each other, not compete against each other.
• We should support Ying McGuire [CEO and president of the National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc.] as she builds a stronger and more responsive NMSDC.
• We should support Miguel Estién [national acting director of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency] and his team as they build a new MBDA with a larger budget and congressional mandates.
• We should support the many new major corporations motivated to reduce the racial wealth gap in the aftermath of the 2020 killing of George Floyd.
• We should support the many other major corporations like AT&T, Macy’s, Pepsi, Toyota, Exelon, McDonald’s and others that were true players before George Floyd.
• We should support this journal [MBN USA] and its founder Don McKneely, who, for over 40 years, has highlighted the contributions of minority business enterprises.
• We should support the many entrepreneurs, advocate groups, trade associations and elected officials that want to think outside the box to ensure minority business enterprises can accelerate their growth in this complex global economy.
In sum, we must look forward, not backward; be positive, not negative, and plan and work to create minority billionaires — not just millionaires.