The titular divide in Linda Baker’s article appears to have dual meaning. Primarily, there is a distinct separation between African-American entrepreneurs and the resources necessary for growth. As Mike Green of the America21 Project puts it, “blacks are in the ‘valley of death.'” They lack the access to the resources, both personal and capital, needed for their companies to expand. There exists only one black angel group, making it difficult for start-ups to connect with investors willing to provide risk capital. On another level, there exists a division between African-American entrepreneurs and their counterparts of other races. There has been little growth in black businesses while companies run by other minorities, especially Chinese and Indian, have seen steady growth in recent years.
“We are all disconnected…it’s institutionally the way it is” says Mike Green. The work done by the America21 Project aims to improve upon this situation. They strive to connect investors, angel groups, and incubators with African-American entrepreneurs so that their businesses might succeed. Additionally, the group hopes to improve education in the highly profitable fields of science, technology, engineering, and math among the black community, starting at the high school level. These changes are vital and necessary, and have the potential to close the divide that is prevalent among African-American entrepreneurs.
The article can be found at http://www.oregonbusiness.com/articles/116-july-august-2012/7702-the-divide
Posted by Intern Connor Sullivan