Minority Businesses Prepare to Be Leaders at Summit
By: Jenny Chen
Adelphi, Maryland – In the last couple of years, Loudoun County’s minority population has exploded: the Asian population quintupled to 46,033; the Hispanic and Latino population tripled to 38,576; the African American population doubled to 22,710; and the number of residents who identify themselves as multiracial tripled to 12,575. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, non-Hispanic whites will become a minority by 2050 with the fastest growing minority populations being Asian and Hispanic.
Spurred by the conviction to prepare minority businesses for their role as what she calls “the new majority,” Sharon Pinder organized The New Majority Summit on December 5, 2011 at University of Maryland University College. Pinder is the president and CEO of the business consulting firm Pinder Group, LLC and former special secretary of Minority Affairs for the state of Maryland. She started the Center for Business Inclusion and Diversity to address how changing demographics affect minority businesses. Pinder said she has been following the minority trends and predicted that the majority-minority phenomenon would soon become an important issue.
“It’s a conversation we need to have: how do we prepare for this? Is there a different mindset?” Pinder said. “The effects of this country’s economic troubles have been especially severe for women and minority owned businesses. Yet the combination of these economic challenges and the changing demographics presents a unique opportunity.”
Carol Morello, author of the Washington Post article “Minorities become a majority in Washington region,” briefed summit participants on the facts – whites are minorities in the District and in Maryland’s Montgomery, Prince George’s and Charles counties. In Virginia, Prince William County is majority-minority. The Washington DC area is the latest among metropolitan areas that are moving rapidly to a majority-minority reality.
What concerns Pinder however, is that minority businesses are still fragmented and have yet to muster the economic clout of majority businesses. She says that until minority businesses can find a way to unify and leverage their collective influence, they will continue to be at a disadvantage.
David Lee, director of ethnic commissions in the State of Maryland Executive Department agrees.
“Often, ethnic communities see their needs and challenges and unique…we need to leverage commonalities, reaching out to other ethnic minorities and being more unified. Being a majority does no good unless you act as the majority.”
Thus, the participants of The New Majority Summit were tasked to create new models to ensure economic success of traditionally labeled disadvantaged businesses and leverage America’s melting pot culture as a resource instead of a barrier. In the coming months, participants will gather several more times to work together to formalize a think tank to identify and promote the common needs of women and minority businesses through research, policy development, congressional relations and education.
“If we don’t have a plan, our communities are going to fail,” said Shelonda Stokes of GreiBO media.
At the end of the summit, participants were able to agree on the following three steps moving forward: institutionalize minority businesses, research the impact of minority businesses, and encourage development of minority businesses.
“Change is not going to happen overnight, but this is an excellent way to consolidate the power of all minorities and exercise these powers in the most effective way,” said Dr. Matthew Lee, Allied Technology Group.
For more information on The New Majority think tank, visit cbidinc.org or email Sharon Pinder at Sharon@cbidinc.org