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Black Entrepreneurs Alliance (BEA)
“Black Advocacy for Black Legacies”
Our Founder: Ashley Barnes founded the Black Entrepreneurs Alliance because government officials are failing black communities across Virginia. If you look around the Commonwealth, black prosperity is still a rarity in the tapestry of American dreams. Not only do most black business owners fail to reach wealth, many don’t even own their own home. It’s because that prosperity is limited to the quality of education a child has received, the relationships they had to help them out, and finding an affordable opportunity to pursue the dream they have. Did you know that in 2017 the Brookings Institute published that only 43% of black business owners owned their own home compared to 73% of white business owners? This is why black prosperity isn’t realized as it could be – because most black Virginians are redlined into a bad school, the reach of relationships are limited to communities where the powerful people only visit when they want our vote. In many cases it is too expensive to get a dream started and even more expensive to keep it going. In short, black communities are victimized by government-created wealth barriers limiting opportunities in our communities while incentivizing opportunities for everyone else. By limiting the quality of our education, our kids are less likely to become successful entrepreneurs. Without giving our kids a network to rely on, they will not have the social support system to succeed. Without giving our kids a community to do business in that has low taxes and low crime, our businesses will have to go somewhere else. Thus, this organization exists to unite Black entrepreneurs together to tear down these barriers, open the doors of opportunity, and have something to leave our families when our time here is done. Rise up. Lift up.
To achieve our goals, we will:
● Build Up & Unite Black Entrepreneurs:
● Connect black entrepreneurs with resources to succeed such as funding opportunities,
mentorship, and business support services.
● Promote home ownership for black business owners and assist in down payment and closing costs.
● Promote access to education and training programs that equip black entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in business.
● Raise awareness about the importance of black entrepreneurship and its potential to drive economic growth and create jobs in black communities.
● Create and raise awareness about financing and grants for black entrepreneurs.
● Tear Down Policy Strongholds Blocking Black Entrepreneurship:
● Advocate for education justice reforms that will give parents better education options for their kids. An arbitrary line should not destine our child to a school-to-prison pipeline. They can’t protect teachers. They can’t protect the schools. They can’t protect our kids. Black children had more learning loss during the pandemic than other demographics by far. We want our public schools to succeed but while they figure it out – we demand options immediately.
● Advocate for policies that incentivize bottom-up investment in black communities not top-down crony gentrification. Taxes in black communities need to be more affordable for black entrepreneurs to invest in their community and provide tax credits for employing formerly incarcerated individuals returning to society.
● Advocate to increase incentives for homeownership with tax credits for business owners who make less than one hundred thousand dollars. Homeownership builds up communities; and by limiting entrepreneurs from purchasing homes, they limit the growth potential of those communities. When the local business people live in your community, they inspire the youth to become entrepreneurs, instead of participating in drug-related crime and premarital sex.
Rebuild The Schools by creating a network of private charter schools that focus on skilled trades, entrepreneurship, finance and stem education.
● Schools in black neighborhoods are more like daycares than education centers. They just try to get kids through without giving them the skills they need to succeed in an ever changing world. Due to the failure of our schools, black kids are more likely to go to jail than graduate from college. We call this the school-to-prison pipeline. We will change that by advocating for privatized charter schools that will be smaller and specialized to help our kids succeed.
● Schools get away with this poor performance because they have no competition. They get roughly the same tax dollars no matter how poorly they perform, while the kids just suffer. We will advocate for private charter schools to get some of that tax money to offer parents a clear choice regardless of where they live. When we are successful, parents will have a choice to send their kid to a private charter school or a public school in their area. A parent won't have to choose based on affordability but instead they will choose based on which school can provide the better education. No matter what choice the parents make, the kids win. The public schools will have to step up their game and become more innovative because they will start losing kids and tax dollars. The charter schools create an economic opportunity for entrepreneurs in the education field. The teachers win because they will have to get paid more because there will be more demand for their services because there will be more schools needed to staff.
Lower Crime by creating more jobs.
● Crime is fueled by economic hardship. When inflation outpaces wages, many in low income neighborhoods turn to crime and drug abuse. With more small businesses fueled by economic incentives to open and expand, jobs will increase. With more jobs on the market, wages will increase and incentivize people in these disadvantaged neighborhoods to work. With more people working, crime rates in these communities should drop and hopefully so will drug abuse.
● We will advocate for tax breaks for small businesses that hire more than twenty five employees if they are located less than ten miles from a disadvantaged or low income neighborhood. By increasing the jobs in walking distance to or on the bus line, low income neighborhoods should begin to prosper. Our job as leaders is to promote choices, and when working is a clear and feasible choice, more people will choose to work instead of spending their time committing crimes and abusing drugs.