The state’s first “Black Business Summit” is set for Friday in Des Moines. Only about two percent of the small businesses in Iowa are owned by blacks, one of the lowest rates in the nation. One of the presenters at the summit, Debra Carr with the Des Moines office of Iowans for Social and Economic Development, says that percentage needs to increase for the good of the state.
Carr says, “If we’re able to strengthen and encourage more African-American business owners to strengthen their business and grow, that creates more jobs and opportunities and contributes to the economic tax base across our state.” Carr says many blacks could end years of economic struggle by starting their own companies.
“When you look at the distribution of assets and wealth and parity issues historically over time, African-Americans are in the same place in terms of asset acquisition as they were back in the 1800’s.” Carr plans to present legislators with material delivered at the summit and ask them to remove any remaining barriers to the establishment and growth of black businesses in Iowa.