- September 25, 2022
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Businesses
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By Shaquille Baird
Recently, prominent Nigerian filmmaker and chairman of Blaze Channel USA, Tony Abulu, hosted the first Annual Africa Expo, USA, at the Marriott Marquis Times Square Hotel. The agenda was clear: Africans must begin to monetize their talents and ideas and, in doing so, come together as a business community.
“For far too long, Africans, especially the African youth, has been languishing, and it’s not getting any better.”
Making no distinction between native Africans, African Americans, and Caribbean Africans, Tony Abulu dramatized the economic struggles faced by many Africans worldwide and highlighted the dire need for practical solutions.
“It’s not enough to get a degree and get a job. We should be coming together as a community and creating jobs. We should create businesses, monetize our talents, and then feed the proceeds into our communities. If we do not do it ourselves, then who will?”
The two-day event, which began on Saturday, September 17, 2022, and continued on Sunday, September 18, 2022, featured panel discussions, expo markets, trade and investment networking, and a president concert. Among the distinguished guests were Wall Street Financial Advisor Dr. Jana B. Woodhouse, President of the Harlem Tourism Board, Mr. Tony Rogers, CEO and Founder of the nationally distributed cable TV Network Soul City, Mr. Matt McCoy, and Nigerian actress Mrs. Omotola Jalade Ekeinde.
Furthering the discussion of business ownership, Dr. Jana B. Woodhouse jokingly opened with the “lie” that many are told as children.
“We got to stop lying to our kids. We lie to them very well. We tell them to go to school. You’re going to get a good education. You’re going to get a good job. And then, after 30 years, you’re going to retire, and you’ll receive half of what you’re making. And you’re going to live off of that. Doesn’t that sound lovely?”
Despite the humorous opening, Dr. Woodhouse highlighted the importance of advancing education and professional experiences in entrepreneurship and imparting them to African communities. Emphasis was also placed on gaining knowledge about money, business and taxation law, business plans, marketing, and partnering strategies to achieve economic prosperity.
According to the Census Bureau 2020 Annual Business Survey, “134,567 Black or African American owned businesses in the US. This figure represents 2.4% of companies in America. For the same year, 2020, a report by Statista illustrated that 19.5% of black people living in America were below the poverty line. The Census Bureau 2020 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement suggested that Blacks represented roughly 23.8% of the poverty population.
To improve these statistics, which appear consistent with Africans worldwide, individuals like Tony Abulu are creating platforms to educate, train and provide investment and networking opportunities to individuals and business owners alike. Initiatives are also coming from the local government. Last week, NYC Mayor, Mr. Eric Adams, and Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, Mr. David Banks, announced a career guidance and mentorship program for public school students to achieve long-term economic security, especially for black and brown students’ community members.
With a great deal of knowledge and opportunities to impart to the various African communities within America, the Africa Expo USA will be featured in significant Diaspora areas such as Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, and California. The discussions, debates, and festive scenes of the Expo are both enjoyable and thought-provoking, but the real treasure of attending this event lies in the empowerment one can achieve. Africans, together as a community, must begin emphasizing entrepreneurship and ownership to flourish economically.