A study by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy concludes that the wealthiest nascent entrepreneurs (individuals putting effort toward opening a business, but who have not yet done so) are four times more likely to open a business than those in the lower part of the wealth distribution. The study, “The Effect of Wealth and Race on Start-up Rates,” found that, even controlling for net wealth, white nascent entrepreneurs are more likely to open a business than are Black or Hispanic nascent entrepreneurs; the existence of a formal business plan did not influence start-up rates; nascent entrepreneurs who sought funds for start-up are more likely to open a business than those who did not; having entrepreneurial parents did not affect start-up rates; and nascent entrepreneurs with experience in their intended industry are less likely to open a business than those with no experience in the field.
Small Business Toolkit
IBM and the World Bank’s International Finance Corp. unveiled the Small Business Toolkit, a multimillion-dollar initiative to improve the way small businesses participate in local and global economies around the world. Unveiled at the Global Leadership Forum gathering of 500 business, government and academic leaders in Washington, D.C., the free tool kit is designed to give entrepreneurs and small businesses, especially those owned by owned by Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and women, the highly developed business information, tools and training services usually reserved for Fortune 1000 companies. In the last decade, small businesses accounted for 60 percent to 80 percent of the new jobs in the U.S. alone. However, nearly one in four small businesses fail, primarily due to lack of knowledge and resources, IBM said.
Chrysler Group is continuing its partnership with the National Association of Minority Media Executives to fund the Chrysler Group/NAMME Fellowship for a third consecutive year with a view toward increasing leadership opportunities for minorities in the media industry. The fellowships are offered as part of NAMME’s Leadership Development Institute, a three-day program for new and middle managers of color in which participants sharpen their leadership skills, learn how to develop their careers and how to successfully contribute to the goals of their organizations. To date, four fellows have completed the Chrysler Group/NAMME Fellowship program. Chrysler funds a similar fellowship program with the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters.
With statistics showing that Black Americans seek hospice care in disproportionately smaller numbers than whites—partly because of cost, health insurance and cultural factors, including a sense of being denied medical care on the basis of race; hospices are reaching out to Blacks and Hispanics, health-care specialists say. In 2005, 82.2 percent of those receiving hospice care were white, while 7.5 percent identified themselves as Black or African-American, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Some hospices now are trying to reach more Blacks through church programs, while others are trying to get information to Hispanics, including Spanish-language materials and making contact in faith-based community settings and gathering places. Hospices also are working to hire more minority employees.
A study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition concludes that in 2005, the most recent year for which figures are available, Blacks in 171 metropolitan areas were at least twice as likely as whites to receive expensive loans. The study, examined 2.3 million high-cost loans in 380 metro areas. It says that while the disparity among Blacks and whites existed at all income levels, it was more severe at higher income levels, rather than at lower ones. Middle-class and upper-income Blacks in 167 metropolitan areas were at least twice as likely as whites with similar incomes to receive loans with high rates. By comparison, there were 70 metropolitan areas where low-income Blacks faced a similar likelihood of receiving above-market rates. Low-income Blacks in all areas were more likely to have pricey loans than whites with similar incomes. The Mortgage Bankers Association criticized the report, saying it focuses on race instead of factors that lenders consider when deciding whether to make loans, such as borrowers’ debt levels and the amount of money they can provide as a down payment.
The President’s Men
Robert Moore, a U.S. marshal tired of seeing Blacks portrayed as perpetrators or victims, launched a traveling exhibit that details the history of Blacks serving as U.S. marshals and in other law enforcement posts. Moore is one of 22 Blacks appointed U.S. marshals by President Clinton, the highest number appointed by any president. The exhibit, “The President’s Men: Black United States Marshals,” began its tour at Alabama A&M’s State Black Archives Research Center and Museum. It includes details of Moore’s career as a U.S. marshal and law-enforcement officer in Mississippi. It also features famous U.S. marshal Frederick Douglass, an 1877 U.S. marshal better known for his work as an abolitionist.
A letter that documents President Franklin Pierce’s pardon of a Black man who harbored slaves went up for sale. The 1854 presidential pardon, which is valued at $75,000, grants clemency to Noah C. Hanson, a free Black, who was convicted three years earlier of stowing two slaves in a hiding place under the kitchen floor of his employer’s Washington, D.C., home. The slaves belonged to a South Carolina congressman. Hanson was sentenced to remain behind bars until a $1,080 fine was paid; his fellow abolitionists tried unsuccessfully to raise the funds. The document is currently the only known presidential pardon of a black man convicted of harboring slaves, according to the Raab Collection, a dealer based in suburban Philadelphia.
The Defense Department has contracted with a group of researchers and prosthetics manufacturers to build a thought-controlled arm at a cost of $30.4 million, part of at least $70 million the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs have committed since 2001 to develop better artificial limbs. Dozens of companies—large and small, foreign and domestic—have received grants to invent and improve prostheses that will be used first by wounded veterans and eventually by the much larger number of civilian amputees. Veterans Affairs says it spent $1.1 million last year on prosthetic devices and services, compared with about $529,000 in 2000. Leaders of the nation’s $900 million prosthetics industry say the government’s investment will be seen less on their balance sheets than in the sophistication of up-to-date prostheses. Some 1.9 million Americans are amputees.
Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward, the active Army’s only Black four-star general, will lead the U.S. Defense Department’s sprawling new Africa Command. The Africa Command will work with African countries to strengthen governments and their militaries and make the nations less vulnerable to terrorist activities. Initially it will be run through the existing European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, but is expected to become an independent unit by the end of September 2008. The Pentagon said the Africa Command will help “promote peace and security and respond to crises on the continent” and coordinate military support for other diplomatic and development programs.
A World Bank Inspection Panel is looking into allegations that the $590 million Chevron Corp.-operated West African Gas Pipeline in Nigeria violated World Bank funding rules for safety, social and environmental impact, according to public documents. While the probe only is a fact-finding mission, industry experts say the inspection panel could provide documentation for future legal suits if the 12 communities lodging the complaint choose to file a lawsuit. The pipeline is owned by Chevron, Nigeria National Petroleum Corp., Royal Dutch Shell and three other West African companies. The case comes amid growing instability in the Niger delta fueled by accusations that oil companies and corrupt government officials aren’t addressing local environmental and social concerns as communities suffer from health problems, persistent poverty and widespread unemployment.