Negative Press Holds Back Miami's Vital Black-Owned Businesses

Opa-locka is home to scores of black-owned businesses, but bad press about violence keeps out national investment, Uncle Luke says.
Opa-locka is home to scores of black-owned businesses, but bad press about violence keeps out national investment, Uncle Luke says.

What do African-Americans need to succeed? Too often, people who live outside of Miami's black communities focus on negative issues such as gun violence and police-involved killings.

Reporters have no qualms about naming the city when a crime occurs in Miami Gardens, a predominantly black city. But when a theft or murder takes place in an affluent neighborhood like Cocoplum, news crews often describe the area only as the south part of Miami.

And this has a real affect. Opa-locka, which is home to an executive airport and three universities, can't attract major corporations. The negative press drives away jobs and consumers looking to spend their money.

The reality is places like Miami Gardens and Opa-locka have a lot to offer the local economy. According to the most recent U.S. Census figures, 11.4 percent of businesses in Miami-Dade are black-owned. That's much higher than the rest of the nation, where only 7 percent of businesses are owned by African-Americans and the number of people employed by black-owned businesses has decreased by 30.8 percent since 2002.

Negative Press Holds Back Miami's Vital Black-Owned Businesses

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In August, NerdWallet, a tech company that provides personal finance services, ranked the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area the tenth best for black business owners. NerdWallet found that South Florida has 14 black-owned businesses per 100 residents. These businesses produce an annual average revenue of nearly $50,000.

Owning a Wingstop franchise or other small business may not seem like a big deal, but black owners have made small businesses in Miami Gardens and Opa-locka into success stories.

The next step is to provide training and education that show African-Americans how they can become entrepreneurs and create jobs. Earlier this month, I spoke at the 2015 Miami-Dade County Economic Summit and challenged them to make this happen. Now let's see if they can make it a reality.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.


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