Black Enterprise magazine is holding its 18th Annual Golf and Tennis Challenge at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Doral, Florida.
Politic365 spoke with Derek T. Dingle, Black Enterprise’s Senior Vice President and Editor in Chief, at the event about its purpose, the magazine’s efforts to engage its readers in the issue of unemployment, the demand for technology jobs, and his thoughts about what President Obama’s upcoming jobs’ plan should contain to support African American business ownership.
According to Dingle the overriding goal of the event is to provide a venue for networking among African American entrepreneurs and professionals. Dingle said that another purpose of the event, which started 18 years ago, was to get Blacks more involved in golf, as it is essential to developing many business relationships.
“Golf is the activity of business, it creates relationships. It’s the venue where deals start and sometimes deals are created.”
As a unique trivia, Dingle maintained that at a previous Black Enterprise challenge, Venus Williams and Serena Williams were teenage tennis coaches.
“I think that this event has helped in terms of facilitating a venue and an opportunity for people to learn about golf, to learn about tennis, to network so that we can strengthen ourselves in a business sense. “
In light of the unemployment crisis impacting African Americans, Dingle said that Black Enterprise has focused some of its coverage on the issue and hosted conferences on entrepreneurship and small business development — issues it believes are critical to closing the employment gap. It also joined forces with Walmart to host a job forum this past in June.
“We brought members of the Executive Leadership Council, which represents the senior black members of corporate America. We had representatives from the labor department here. We had entrepreneurs, many of them from our BE 100 Companies – which are the nation’s largest Black owned companies, to talk about one – what can be done on a macro level to create jobs and what’s going to be important is skills development,” said Dingle.
Dingle said technology is a major sector of the economy where there are currently many opportunities, but not enough workers with adequate skills to meet the demand.
“Technology is one of the industries where you have more job openings than you have people qualified to fill them. Not only African Americans, but Americans in general.”
Dingle finally spoke on President Obama’s involvement in supporting small businesses and what he believed should be in Obama’s upcoming jobs plan.
“I think one thing we have to note is that the Obama administration has done some things to support small businesses,” said Dingle. “For example, the sponsorship and pushing the Small Business Jobs Act. There’s a lot of opportunities there. I think in some cases when you look at some of the laws that have been put on the book, some of the laws that have been instituted, there hasn’t been communication of how people can benefit from those laws.”
Dingle said that Obama should consider including provisions in his plan that “deal with trying to take small businesses to a larger level.” According to Dingle, that would encompass encouraging community banks to lend to small businesses to help them meet their financing needs.
“These community banks, a number of them are BE 100 banks, will not lend to small businesses because they have concerns about their credit quality and their viability. I think another thing that needs to be done is that we need to bring in HBCU’s, colleges, small business centers, to help develop these businesses,” said Dingle. He added that he believed a fund should be created to support Black technology to help drive the development of businesses of the future.
Politic365.com intends to profile VIP’s at the Black Enterprise Golf and Tennis Challenge, and obtain their thoughts on several issues impacting minority communities.