'We Practice Cultural Economics'
Micro- Enterprises are businesses that employ five or fewer employees and are not readily visible in the business community. Micro businesses are being created every hour, by ordinary people who have skills that can produce income for themselves and their families. Now is the time to think outside of the box and find ways to create jobs for our residents. If, as a country, we are going to break the yokes of poverty in the Black Belt Region and across the South, we must develop an organizational structure that will assist in the development of micro-enterprise businesses. To support this infrastructure, more effort must also be given to making more micro-loans available to micro-businesses, especially in rural areas and the inner cities. With today’s technology, micro-enterprise businesses can become participants in the global economy. These tiny businesses employ most of the world’s workers. They are the real backbone of the global economy. Millions of very small enterprises that farm small plots of land, cook food, provide daycare for children, make clay pots or straw mats by hand, perform piece work for manufacturers, and carry out untold other tasks that larger businesses contract out.
In our great country, where most people work for big business and government; more than a quarter of all employees work for establishments of fewer than 20 people and those businesses constitute 87 percent of all U.S. business establishments. Because of this fact, it is time for economic developers and business leaders to consider creating employment opportunities by utilizing job training dollars, in part, to train micro-entrepreneurs and create a more robust business climate that will create jobs and improve opportunities for Florida citizens.
Micro-businesses are more flexible and mobile than larger businesses. They provide part-time work for women and men who have to take care of children and family members; and seasonal work in places where crops have to be harvested. They require little capital, office space for startup. They can thrive in rural areas and inner cities. Jobs in microenterprises are accessible to the traditional day worker, immigrants, and disenfranchised people. These jobs can significantly reduce the poverty rate and stabilize a community. Finally, microenterprises offer a simple way of bringing economic development and social benefits to poor communities, without major infrastructure.
In recent years, some socially concerned lenders have begun to demonstrate their willingness to lend to micro-businesses, defying the usual rules, by creating agreements that the borrowers will repay the loans out of their profits. Some lenders require a co-signer, but are not collateralized. Non-collateralized co-signer loans are reported as having a ninety-nine percent payback rate and have little overhead. The co-signer is required to perform the duties of the lender. Ingenious peer pressure!
The Florida Black Chamber is poised to lead the globe in the growth of Micro Enterprise businesses and job creation and the production of culturally sensitive products and services. The Micro-Enterprise infrastructure and foundation already exist:
•27% of Florida employees work for a Microenterprise (some areas such as Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami are as high as 38%). Florida Microenterprise businesses can grow with a loan of $50,000 or less.
•91% of Florida businesses are Microenterprises
•Average payroll for Microenterprises was nearly three times higher than the minimum wage in 2008.
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