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Fostering Black entrepreneurship

Armstrong Williams | 4/19/2013, 10:09 a.m.
If you do a search of the wealthiest Black businessmen, the results may not come...
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We need businessmen to get more involved in our communities outside the school system. Instead of building another youth basketball center so people can pretend they have done something to help inner-city kids, we need to build centers to teach kids about computers and business. Instead of seeing athletes and musicians talking about hitting the big time, we need to see stories about how people like Amos Winbush III rose from humble beginnings to make his millions.

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) career fields are booming, yet Blacks are graduating fewer and fewer into these fields. They are not quick payoff careers, but they are a clear path into the upper-middle-class or higher. Many students claim these fields are intimidating in their perceived difficulty, but is that more intimidating than a life of low-paying, menial jobs?

But more visible mentors opening learning centers will only do so much if we do not encourage our children at home. In all other ethnic communities, you can see parents and communities fostering kids' interests in STEM and business. When I look around most of the Black communities, I do not see any urgency to inspire kids in such disciplines. Rather, I see ridicule, disinterest and pressure to find that magic lottery ticket. Many of the businesses in the inner-city and urban communities are dominated by Koreans, Asians, Chinese and families from the Caribbean. These families are usually intact with a two-parent household where education is essential, teenage pregnancy is rare, church is critical and they encourage and instill a culture of entrepreneurship in their children.

The pathologies that continue to erode the Black family and community has to stop. We must take matters into our own hands and make a change. It is critical that African-American congregations on Sundays encourages their members toward entrepreneurship and ownership, and discourage looking to the government and Uncle Sam as their source of existence.

We need more mentors, more role models and more encouragement so kids will see the same value in learning STEM and business principles as they do perfecting their jump shot.

Read Armstrong Williams is the author of the brand-new book "Reawakening Virtues." More content can be found on RightSideWire.com. Come join the discussion live 4-5, 6-8 p.m. EST at www.livestream.com/armstrongwilliams or tune in 4-5 p.m. EST on S.C. WGCV, Sirius/XM Power 128, 6-7 p.m. and 4-5 a.m. EST. Become a fan on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

If you do a search of the wealthiest Black businessmen, the results may not come as a surprise to you. The list is dominated by athletes and entertainment figures. In fact, only two names consistently come up that are what you would consider traditional businessmen: Robert Johnson (worth $550 million) and Donahue Peebles ($350 million).

Oprah Winfrey heads the list with a net worth of $2.8 billion, followed by the likes of Sean Combs with $550 million; Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson each clock in around $500 million; and Jay-Z is estimated to be worth around $460 million.