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Entrepreneurship and Economic Freedom in the African American Community

At this time each year, we come together as a nation to celebrate the history, culture, and achievements of African Americans. It is a time to reflect upon the story of a people, who were forced to build the foundations of the very republic that we know today, and yet were unable to partake of the wealth of its abundance. We think upon the struggle for freedom and equality, that in many ways persists to the present day, and we count the lessons learned to this point and ponder what new challenges await. We oftentimes find ourselves celebrating African American achievements in literature, art, politics, mathematics, social justice, science, and medicine. Today, the Wealth Education Exchange celebrates the ringing of Economic Freedom in the African American community.

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According to statistics from the Census Survey of Business Owners, the number of Black-owned businesses increased over 60% between 2002 and 2007, and increased another 40% between 2007 and 2012. These numbers indicate that the the the Bells of Liberty are not only ringing, but that African Americans are responding en masse, taking control of their future in a powerful way. Since 2012, a spirit of Entrepreneurship tempered by a strong sense of community that is integral in the African American experience, has emerged. The total revenue of the largest 100 Black-owned businesses continues to increase and accelerate year-over-year according to Black Enterprise and the total revenues continue to grow, outpacing standard industry growth. This is because in every industry, it is well known that diversity brings with it new perspectives and insight, and thus new opportunities to grow new markets and take more marketshare.

A good friend and mentor of mine told me "African Americans have never risen in defiance over gold, oil, land, or any other possession, but rather only for these two noble causes; freedom, and equality". In the 1800s, defiance may have been learning to read and write. In the 1900s defiance was civil disobedience. Today, defiance is stepping into the marketplace and creating businesses and jobs in the communities in which we live. It's starting that landscaping business in your 20s with your beat up lawnmower that you bought on craigslist, and growing it into a million dollar company 20 years later that now funds your tech startup in addition to employing the teenage kids in your neighborhood, giving them dignity, purpose, integrity, and of course... money! Defiance is putting new knowledge between your ears about being healthy, wealthy, and wise, and then passing that information to your children and grand children.

The Wealth Education Exchange extends its congratulations, admiration, and well wishes, to all of you African American business owners who are creating economic freedom in your communities and continuing to press on even into the marketplace.

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