Prior to the global movement of honoring George Floyd’s memory, I have been wholeheartedly dedicated to fostering an inclusive ecosystem that uplifts BIPOC Entrepreneurs. As a product of and active resident of North Minneapolis, a community member, a parent, and an entrepreneur, I see the urgent need to dismantle the structures of inequality that persist. It is time for us to replace them with pathways of economic empowerment that leave no one behind.
To my fellow Minneapolis and St. Paul residents and community members, let us continue to seize this moment and take charge of driving change at the grassroots level. We have the power to shape our future. Together, we can nurture a community that thrives on economic vitality, unity, and shared prosperity.
I openly and intentionally invite my fellow white men and women to join me in this crucial journey towards economic and social justice. You must acknowledge the privileges you hold and use them as tools for positive change. It is your responsibility to actively advocate for fair access to capital, create equitable business environments, promote policies that foster economic justice, and call out the outdated practices that have disenfranchised people of color for centuries..
As an entrepreneur, I am committed to uplifting BIPOC entrepreneurs by supporting and promoting access to capital, creating opportunities for growth, storytelling and documenting their journey, and calling out those who like to counterfeit advocates and allies. I strive to promote a wide range of inclusiveness within my own businesses and advocate for others to do the same.
I hope all of us continue to educate ourselves around policies that perpetuate inequality and actively work towards reforming them. We must amplify the voices and success stories of BIPOC entrepreneurs and provide mentorship and resources to aspiring individuals facing barriers to entry.
Together, we can create a lasting legacy of economic justice for the countless names and hashtags of black, brown, indigenous, and people of color who have suffered and left this earth due to systemic inequality. I invite you to stand with me and actively contribute to building a more equitable and just society. By coming together, we can drive the change our communities need and deserve.
Here are four focus areas I have put together for you around how to join me in advocating for economic justice:
Support More-Than-Fair Access to Capital for BIPOC Entrepreneurs
- Advocate for equal opportunities: Reach out to financial institutions and demand equal access to funding and investment resources for BIPOC entrepreneurs.
- Raise awareness: Share stories and statistics that highlight the disparities in access to capital. Educate others about the importance of bridging the gap.
- Promote programs: Support initiatives that aim to bridge the funding gap for BIPOC entrepreneurs. Spread the word about these programs and encourage others to get involved.
- Demand transparency: Hold financial institutions accountable for their lending practices. Urge them to be transparent and inclusive in their support for BIPOC entrepreneurs.
- Push for policy changes: Engage in advocacy efforts that promote policies ensuring fair access to capital. Write to elected officials and participate in local campaigns focused on economic equality.
Create Equitable Business Environments
- Promote Diversity and Inclusion: Champion diversity within your organization by actively seeking a variety of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. Embrace inclusivity and make it a priority in all aspects of your business.
- Advocate for more-than-fair hiring practices: Ensure that your hiring process is fair and unbiased. Implement strategies to eliminate discrimination and create equal opportunities for all candidates.
- Foster an inclusive workplace culture: Create an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered. Encourage open dialogue, listen to diverse voices, and address any issues of discrimination or bias promptly.
- Provide equal opportunities: Offer professional development and growth opportunities to all employees, regardless of their background or tenure. Support mentoring and sponsorship programs, leadership training, and initiatives that level the playing field for everyone.
- Support inclusive initiatives: Back programs and initiatives that promote a wide range of cultural diversity in the broader business community. Partner with organizations that foster an inclusive business environment and collaborate on shared goals.
Advocate for Policy Changes
- Stay informed: Stay up to date on policies that impact economic justice and BIPOC entrepreneurs. Educate yourself about the existing discriminatory policies and their consequences.
- Support campaigns: Engage in campaigns and initiatives that seek to reform discriminatory policies and promote economic equality. Join forces with organizations and individuals who are actively working towards these goals.
- Express your concerns: Write letters or emails to your local representatives expressing your concerns about systemic barriers. Share your personal experiences and the impact these policies have on BIPOC entrepreneurs. Urge them to take action for meaningful change.
- Participate in community discussions: Attend community meetings, town halls, or forums focused on economic justice. Use these platforms to voice your opinions and advocate for policies that create equal opportunities for all.
- Collaborate with advocacy groups: Connect with local advocacy groups or organizations that are dedicated to promoting economic equality. Offer your support, time, and resources to amplify their efforts and help create a collective voice for change.
Educate and Empower
- Share resources and knowledge: Proactively share resources, information, and success stories of BIPOC entrepreneurs. Amplify their voices and showcase their achievements to inspire others and foster a sense of empowerment.
- Mentor aspiring entrepreneurs: Offer mentorship and guidance to aspiring entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities. Share your expertise and experiences to help them navigate challenges and build successful businesses.
- Support entrepreneurship training: Back organizations that provide entrepreneurship training and resources specifically tailored to individuals who face barriers to entry. Contribute your time, funds, or expertise to help these organizations create pathways for success.
- Foster networking opportunities: Facilitate connections and networking opportunities for BIPOC entrepreneurs. Encourage collaborations, partnerships, and mentor-mentee relationships that can enhance their growth and access to opportunities.
- Advocate for support programs: Speak up for the creation and expansion of support programs that address the unique challenges faced by BIPOC entrepreneurs. Engage with policymakers and decision-makers to ensure resources are allocated to these initiatives.
By actively engaging in these actions, we can honor George Floyd’s memory and contribute to a more equitable and just society. Together, let us work towards lasting change and ensure that BIPOC entrepreneurs have the opportunities they deserve. Stand with me in the pursuit of economic justice.