2002 Survey of Business Owners: Black-Owned Firms
April 18, 2006
Remarks of Ronald N. Langston
Minority Business Development Agency
Good Morning. I’m Ron Langston, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency and I am delighted to be here this morning with the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Black Chamber of Commerce.
Thank you Tom and Valerie. Welcome Harry and Michael.
Today’s news about the growth of African American owned businesses give us all cause for celebration. It also validates that the entrepreneurial spirit that built this great country is still alive and thriving. It also reaffirms that the U.S. in an “entrepreneurial economy.”
In addition to the news put forth by the Census Bureau about black-owned firms, the national economy continues to show signs of economic strength.
- The economy has been growing for 17 straight quarters
- The unemployment rate is 4.7 percent - lower than the average of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
- The economy created 243,000 jobs in February and has created about 2.1 million jobs over the past 12 months - and almost 5 million since August 2003.
A driving force behind America’s economic competitiveness is growth and expansion of minority business enterprises, especially, the 1.2 million African American owned firms. These firms, alone, represent nearly 29% of all minority owned firms in the United States and employ 800,000 workers.
According to a MBDA commissioned paper by the TUCK School of Business at Dartmouth, minority firms are critical to the overall success of the U.S. economy. More African Americans need to see business ownership as a viable path to economic independence and more needs to be done to foster their growth.
That is why President Bush has pushed for tax relief over the last five years . . . tax relief that has put $880 billion back in the hands of American workers, investors, small businesses and families; . . . so they could use it to start and grow their businesses.
Not only are African American owned firms growing at a much faster rate than the national average, but so are Hispanic, Asian and other minority owned firms.
As result, we see U.S. productivity has been growing at 3.5 percent for the last five years; and that American workers are 17 percent more productive than they were in 2001.
Increased productivity means America will continue to be competitive in the global marketplace and American workers will continue to enjoy a high standard of living.
America must continue to lead the world in competitiveness, innovation and creativity. Our greatest resource and advantage in the world has always been our educated, hard working, ambitious people and we are going to keep that edge.
But, if the national minority business enterprise community does not grow in size, scale, scope and capabilities, then we have failed in our mission. If the national minority business enterprise community is not generating wealth, America will not be prosperous.
That is why we, at MBDA, believe increased business ownership among minorities should be a national priority.
The President’s goal is to keep the country strong by creating economic opportunities so the entrepreneurial spirit of the American people can flourish.
And with the full participation of all Americans, our future is even brighter than today.
On behalf of Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez and President George W. Bush . . . . Thank you.