For many years Blacks have been stereotyped as being good at sports and entertain. Anything having to do with physical feats was the domain of African Americans. But things are changing. There is a new breed of black entrepreneur that is gaining attention.
When you think of Black Americans the first names that come to mind may not be Asmau Ahmed or Chris Bennet of Soldsie. With the most popular people on the planet being sports stars like Lebron James, and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes who not only take the spotlight, but their multimillion-dollar contracts are the envy of the world.
There is a growing sector of Black entrepreneurs and Influencers who silently but consistently are making their mark. We’ll take a look at several of them and see why they are having such a profound influence on the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Robert F. Smith
is an American businessman, philanthropist, chemical engineer, and investor. He is the founder, chairman, and CEO of investment firm Vista Equity Partners. Forbes has named Smith on several business lists, including its list of the 100 greatest living business minds, and the wealthiest people in America. In 2019, Smith pledged to eliminate $34 million of student loan debt for the Morehouse College graduating class that year. For the pledge, he was named “Executive of the Year” at the 2019 PitchBook Private Equity Awards, which recognize individuals in the private equity industry who have made significant donations. He was also recognized as one of the 50 people “who defined 2019” on The Bloomberg 50 List.
Financial literacy and investing are at the heart of the Black Business Chamber. Our co-sponsors U.S. Bank are working with the Chamber to create a community of educated and motivated business owners. Our goal, to empower and formulate a 3-5-year growth plan for our partners.
This is a shameful homage to one of my relatives on the Powell side of the clan. Beth developed a love for flying at a young age. According to her recollection, she thought it would be great to be an engineer or mechanic. Her father inquired how many black women were pilots and the rest they say is history.
The family would invest in her flying career over the next few years. Beth said that she held down three jobs in order to pay for her flying lessons. Taking a position as an instructor to gain the flight time required for a commercial license.
Beth earned her commercial license and went on to work at American Eagle and ultimately America Airlines. She hopes to be a symbol to other young black aspiring pilots who by seeing someone that looks like her will pursue their flying career.
The airlines and various organizations such as the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Sisters of the Skies and Women in Aviation International as well as other pilots are working diligently to bring awareness to the possibilities and opportunities in the field of aviation.
The Black Business Chamber is currently working on a program to bring more exposure to flying within the Black community in Las Vegas. It is hoped that we can attract donors who are passionate about the future of flying and want to share that passion with the Black community.
If you can identify technology that has helped reduce gun violence, police departments from Chicago to New York will point to ShotSpotter Inc. Ralph A. Clark, the company’s president and CEO, has been responsible for making the company the leader in gunshot detection, location, and forensic analysis. And most recently, he expanded the company’s portfolio with the acquisition of HunchLab technology from Philadelphia-based Azavea, which will enable the company to apply risk modeling and AI to help forecast when and where crimes are likely to occur and provide deterrence recommendations for specific patrol missions.
The Tech industry for the black community is exploding. Kids who were either to small to play basketball, too slow to run track or just not funny enough to be a comedian are taking a look at Tech. Here in Las Vegas the global brand Blacks in Tech just opened up a Chapter.
The Black Business Chamber secured a relationship with the Chapter president Roni McClintock to bring awareness to the group’s presence. Within one week, the group has already attracted 45 members. When we spoke to McClintock, she said Las Vegas is a hidden gem for technology. People are flying in for the week and then going home on the weekends.
The opportunity for blacks to diversify their career choices is expanding as quickly as technology. With more choices come new interest in the possibilities within the Black community. Who knows, within the next decade it will become commonplace for inner city and urban communities of color to produce engineers and pilots as well as todays sports superstars.