Entrepreneurship in the Black community in the U.S.
Becoming self-employed is the guarantee for every African immigrant to engage in productive activities without the need to fear job loss or pay cut as the grim of economic crises bow to the vicissitudes of time in the U.S.
While I am not unmindful of the challenges of going into business, available evidence show that an entrepreneurial inclined African immigrant would overcome both short term and long term job crises that plague most active Africans in search of better means of livelihood.
Blacks who have summoned the courage to go into business are consistently reaping the benefits of their investment. American blacks have for centuries taken the path of entrepreneurship to guarantee their economic survival. Today, we hear of such a thriving community enterprise like the Black Wall Street of Tulsa in Oklahoma. By considering the entrepreneurial option to employment, African migrants will be unleashing their potential economic power and resilience to rise above poverty and cut a niche for themselves in the industrial map of America.
The path of business is a guarantee of wealth and job creation for African migrant communities. A recent report by The Association for Enterprise Opportunity on black-owned businesses in the U.S. put the total number of black businesses at 2.58 million with annual revenue of $150 billion and providing approximately 3.56 million jobs. Although the report didn’t say that path of business is an overnight success, it did acknowledge that most of the business owners are wealthier, putting the median net worth of black entrepreneurs at 12 times more than their fellow blacks who are not business owners.
A cue from the Chinese immigrant communities around the world
Back home in Nigeria, I once had the opportunity to work as a foreign exchange facilitator for the Chinese business community. What I found out is the enormous connection the Chinese have with their local economy serving as a marketing outpost for the Chinese industries in China. The Chinese strategy of creating Chinatown is a way to guarantee jobs for Chinese immigrants and sustain their local economies.
The Chinese do not come to Nigeria to look for employment, they come to Nigeria to take up the jobs they have created and even employ Nigerians to work for them. In the Chinatowns in Ojota and Ikoyi in Lagos, the community provides more than 1000 jobs for the local people and has more than 500 China nationals working directly in the Chinatowns.
Business potential and opportunities
The population of African immigrants in the U.S. is enormous, estimated at 1.7 million people with more joining the league of immigrants annually. While continues the talk about brain drain in Africa, the African in Diaspora can make up for Africa’s loss by going into economic activities that will both ensure the survival of the immigrants and Africa ’s economy.
Let’s look at likely businesses African immigrants can consider to start their entrepreneurial journey:
This is a farming business that sources funding from relations, friends, and community to set up farm holding. Agriculture remains the most stable form of economic activity anywhere in the world, and as long as the setup is right, there is no fear of losing your investment. The advantage of crowd farming for African immigrants is that the success of the venture can spread to Africa which gives you the opportunity to develop the economy of different African states.
The market for Drones related business is projected to be $13 billion by 2020; the idea of starting a drone business is taking advantage of immediate and future business opportunities. Among business ideas for drones are logistics, photography, security surveillance, search and rescue, mapping and surveying, drones sales, repair, and training.
The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was developed by the US to support the growth of African economy; while the US importation from Africa has been mostly in the energy sector, there hasn’t been much progress in the Agric subsector. Starting a local African food produce importation under the AGOA can help African states rejuvenate its moribund economy. This will give African immigrants the opportunity of investing at home and increase the supply of African food commodity in the U.S. On the manufacturing side, such businesses can partner with fellow African food processing businesses in the U.S. to supply African produce under its raw material supply plan.
African immigrants can start a business of funding startups among African immigrants. Immigrants with sufficient business, management, and financial skills and experiences can pull together to form a startup funding business where they fund, mentor and support startup to get a stable footing for ultimate survival.
For a steadily growing economy like the U.S., the future of urban logistics is bright. An urban logistics business that is well conceived and implemented holds lots of promises to the entrepreneur. Uber is not only successful in the U.S. it is competing healthily in Africa as well. Imagine if such venture had emanated from African immigrants!
The world credit system needs improvement, and FinTech businesses are helping startups, workers and people who need finance. Things to consider for starting a FinTech service include Regulations, Competition, Customer Trust, Strong team, and unique service, Choice of tech and reliability, and Funding. This service, in the long run, can extend to Africa under global expansion scheme. This will be successful in Africa because right now e-money and cashless economic policy are trending.
Food is essential to life, and everyone needs it. Also, Africans, more than anything else, would prefer African food to western junk foods. I know many families in Nigeria who send food items to their folks in the States because of the seeming unavailability of African cuisines. Having African food restaurant in African immigrants dominated community will be a good business idea. Such business has scalability and expansion prospects for the future.
Who can tell the African stories better than Africans? Having a media outlet by African immigrants will give voice to Africans in Diaspora to set the narrative right and place issues in their right perspectives. Advanced technology has made an investment in electronic media reasonably affordable. African immigrants also boast of a good collection of well-educated people with the passion for selling the African stories. What is needed is the entrepreneurs to bring all available resources together; will that person be you?
The Internet is covering the world at an alarming rate; this year, the number of people with access to the internet crossed the 4 billion mark with more people hoping to join as global communication infrastructure reaches the unserved. Therefore, there is never a better time than now to start an ecommerce business. The beauty of ecommerce is that it is still at its infancy and you need little or no money to start if you know how! And the Good News is that you can sell anything on the internet; anything!
This is the future of education if the world is to achieve its global literacy campaign. Your starting an edtech business is about positioning to make a difference in a revolutionized education culture. Edtech campaign is a popular discourse in every country, people need to meet economic, literacy and social needs but the time allotted for individual has not increased and it won’t! The best way is to manage the limited time within available education technology. Anyone who invests in edtech would not only be relevant in the U.S. but will have a place in Africa.
A Forbes report says immigrants are responsible for over 40% of Fortune 500 Companies in America and it does not look like the figure is going down any time soon! As African immigrants are repositioned and live with purpose and value in the land of opportunity, the sky will be the limit to take their rightful position in America.
In the coming years, African immigrant businesses will be joining list of immigrants founded companies like Sun Microsystems, Google, Tesla, PayPal, LinkedIn, Pfizer, Goldman Sachs, General Electric, Procter & Gamble, Colgate, and so many multi-billion dollars fortune 500 companies founded by immigrants on the soil of America; it is a matter of time!
Mikhail is a content creator, a digital marketer, and an entrepreneur. He studied Political Science at the University of Ilorin Nigeria.