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As high unemployment rates continue to plague the country, America’s urban and minority populations face a particularly grim jobs market: according to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the average unemployment rate among black Americans hovers near 16 percent — well above the overall national rate of 9.1 percent. What’s more: unemployment among African Americans continued to rise long after the national rate peaked in October of 2009, reaching 16.5 percent in March 2010.
With this in mind, the White House convened the Urban Entrepreneurship Summit at Rutgers University in Newark, N.J., June 6. The day-long conference aimed to assist minority small business owners by bringing together government officials, private and nonprofit funders and leading entrepreneurs. Attendees were encouraged to voice questions and share information in a bid to spur growth opportunities in urban areas.
Alfred Edmond, Senior VP and Editor-at-Large for BLACK ENTERPRISE appeared on one of the panels and contended that there “was only so much the state and federal government could do, given the deficits they’re facing.” Instead, Edmond challenged “Mayor Cory Booker to make Newark [a hub] of northern entrepreneurship, by encouraging Fortune 500 companies to steer jobs into urban areas.”