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AS U.S. ECONOMY SHOWS GROWTH: MINORITY OWNED BUSINESSES STRUGGLE

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In the middle of what many call an economic recession, consumers are expected to spend billions in just four days. Last year, stores opening earlier along with steep discounts on all kinds of products, retailers notch record sales during Black Friday weekend. Total spending over the four-day weekend following Thanksgiving reached a record $52.4 billion, up 16% from $45 billion in the year before, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation released Sunday.

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On Saturday, November 30, 2013 is Small Business Saturday has been coined a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities. This commemorative day was founded by American Express in 2010 and has been supported by entrepreneurial advocacy groups including the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. As a matter of fact, Small Business Saturday saw massive growth in 2011 with more than 100 million Americans shopping at independently owned businesses. The day received the support of more than 230 small business advocate groups and more than 2.7 million Facebook users.

While this is exciting news for the world of entrepreneurship, many minority owned firms have yet to realize a significant increase in sales in-store or online. A record 226 million consumers shopped in stores and online between Thursday and Sunday last year, up from 212 million in the year before, yet black and Latino owned companies recognized a fraction of that revenue. An effective marketing push seems to be the problem, at least on the surface, but many are asking is there more to it. Records reflect that the average holiday shopper shelled out $398.62 in 2011, up from $365.34 in 2010.

“There’s billions of dollars being spent, both in public, private partnerships, and African-Americans aren’t being called to the table,” said Ken Harris, President of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce. “Nor is there a discussion on how to include black-owned businesses, minority businesses, and women-owned businesses.”

The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a small business as one that is independently owned and operated, is organized for profit, and is not dominant in its field with not more than $35.5 in annual revenue. According to the National Black Chamber of Commerce, there are 1 million Black owned businesses in the United States that account for over $100 billion in annual sales yet there lacks a recognition of the need for multiculturalism during either Black Friday, no pun intended, or Small Business Saturday as two major opportunities to promote minority owned businesses.

Francis Wong, director of the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, says diversity in business has its advantages. “So, Asian Pacific American-owned businesses — just like African-American-owned businesses and Hispanic-American-owned businesses — we bring our backgrounds,” said Wong, “we bring our cultures, we bring our people, we bring our connections.”

The Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, in it’s efforts to train and support minority and veteran owned business, encourages consumers and business owners alike to do a better job at promoting and patronizing minority owned businesses all year, but especially during the holiday season.

Edward Foxworth III is the host of T.V. Show “American Entrepreneur”, a news magazine style show focused on entrepreneurs who are making extraordinary strides. His book, The Six Routines of Self-Discovery, part of the Recapture your Passion System is available at www.edwardfoxworth.com.

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