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Why must corporations develop inclusive economic development opportunities?

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said on Tuesday, May 19th, 2020 in a memo that “we use this crisis as a catalyst to rebuild an economy that creates and sustains opportunity for dramatically more people, especially those who have been left behind for too long,” Dimon said. “The last few months have laid bare the reality that, even before the pandemic hit, far too many people were living on the edge.” Without Mr. Dimon explicitly referencing Black and African Americans we can still conclude whom he was speaking about by saying “especially those who have been left behind for too long”. Black and African Americans are by far the most disadvantaged group in the United States; all while consisting of 13.4% or approximately 46 million Americans who live near or below the poverty line. If they are above the poverty line they have little to no savings or valuable assets which becomes apparent with the following statistics of Black American households. According to brookings.edu; In 2019 the median white household held $188,200 in wealth—7.8 times that of the typical Black household of $24,100. White households reported an average wealth of $983,400, which is 6.9 times that of Black households $142,500.

According to the Annual Business Survey, Black or African Americans owned 124,004 employer businesses (firms with at least one paid employee) in 2017. This accounts for 2.2% percent of the 5.7 million total employer businesses in the United States. This fact means, almost near an absolute majority of Black or African Americans work for a firm that is owned by a member of another nationality (or are unemployed which is another issue worth addressing separately directly concerning the social responsibility of corporate America). This creates a disconnect both in terms of socioeconomic status, power, and economic opportunities.

According to a CNBC report, Black and African Americans boast a 1.4 trillion-dollar spending power, and for the purpose of context, that is higher than the gross domestic product or GDP of Spain, Mexico, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and Nigeria according to Investopedia.com. With these presented facts and statistics we aim to illustrate the socio-economical position of Black and African Americans. We do not employ our community which means we do not own many factors of production (land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship), yet our economic power is on par with entire nations across the globe who do own large factors of production. The 36% of companies who quickly made financial contributions to racial justice and the 14% who said Black Lives Matter weighed the options and determined, with a clear understanding of the current social climate coupled with power and disposition of Black or African American people, that those position statements, initiatives, and contributions were in their best professional interests. 

Our call for corporate economic opportunities is placed in the need to develop the economy of the Black and African American community. America’s top banker, Jamie Dimon, concluded after assessing the economic effects of COVID-19 from the top of America’s largest bank that America cannot have a strong economy if 13.4% of its citizens are systematically prohibited & disadvantaged from economic opportunities, ability, and mobility. Within BCAs established review guidelines, we assess specifically whether a firm utilizes diverse suppliers within its supply chain processes, or subcontracts external work to diverse firms and agencies as internally necessary, or works with minority-led services-based businesses. Additionally, we assess and track all the financial contributions, donations, and investments a firm gives to minority-led ventures, startups, nonprofits, initiatives, and any other programs. The goal is to bolster and subsidize the economic development of Black and African American communities and enterprises. Black Certification clients have exclusive access to our minority supplier, subcontractors, and service-based businesses network list. Our solution for companies is a list, completely vetted by BCA, of businesses that have the ability and know-how to handle global supply chains and large-scale projects.

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