Small Businesses in the Supply Chain

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Published May 15, 2013

By Dr. Tyra Oldham

In an economic shifting world can the importance of small business be a vital and necessary conversation, today. As the pie increases but more slices are plated to fewer number can it be relevant to consider a certain faction of the economy. The importance and relevance falls into several buckets which are inclusion, ecosystem and innovation. The importance of one group is pegged against the other as the dollar was previously pegged to gold. The informational question is “African American and Owning a Successful Small Business – Is It Possible?” is integral conversation to the business ecosystem.

Small businesses have typically been the largest sector in hiring.  Small businesses hire within community and support local economies. Small businesses if one can relate to the body has been the arms, legs and feet of the body while top 500 plus have been the head and government the chest. The importance of the small business sector was its indivisibility within the supply chain that is eroding.

The Prlog reports, “Every five years in the United States, data is collected by a Survey of Business Owners: Black Owned Businesses. The last survey was released early this 2011 and included the five year period between 2002 and 2007. During this time the growth in black-owned businesses increased by 60%. This number is more than 3 times the amount of new businesses starting across the country during the same time frame.”

“The government defines black-owned businesses as a business that is at least 51% owned by an African American. During the years between 2002 and 2007 black business owners brought in over $130 billion through sales!”

The numbers reveal a disparity in development and penetrating across sectors. The importance of a supple supply chain is the ability to augment and structure a reinforced business endoskeleton that produces goods and services, as well as  and more importantly provides innovation and intelligence into the economic ecosystem. At one time Martin Luther King stated in the I have a Dreams Speech that “be the best street sweeper” may no longer apply as that job is now outsourced to innovation i.e. the Billy Goat by Grainger, top 500 business in Fortune.

The Census reported that, “The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States increased by 43.7 percent to 2.3 million, more than twice the national rate of 18.0 percent between 2002 and 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. About 45.8 percent of all Hispanic-owned businesses were owned by people of Mexican origin.”

“Hispanic-owned businesses generated $345.2 billion in sales in 2007, up 55.5 percent compared with 2002. The number of Hispanic-owned businesses with receipts of $1 million or more increased 51.6 percent — from 29,168 to 44,206 businesses between 2002 and 2007.”

“Although black successful small business owners, brought in these record breaking numbers, their companies continue to remain relatively small. Many African American business owners, around 87%, earn approximately $50,000 per year.”

The underpinnings of the shift and focus of small business as the middle class into a black hole may be short sighted in the role of economic and sustainable development. The ability to drive a redundant supply chain is needed. The opportunity in not Too Big to Fail reveals the sensitivity of the market on big and small business.

What is the role of society to support business development? For some it may rest on the free economy framework where pulling up your bootstraps persists. This model was always flawed and non-existence because doors open and close for those social , economic and intellectual capital. Sometimes privilege does not see the door ever opening as they were always on the other side of the door frame. Another, view is to support growth through social planning as did Franklin D. Roosevelt. This model has its success and yet can more be done to promote sustainability. The answer rests in the world and nation we wish to sustain.

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