April 2, 2024
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Guest commentary: Black business ownership and bridging the wealth gap


By Gilbert McAllister

The persistent wealth gap in the United States disproportionately affects Black and African American communities, where systemic barriers like limited access to capital and unequal opportunities hinder economic mobility and wealth creation. 

However, African American entrepreneurship offers a pathway toward individual and community empowerment.

Central Coast Minority Enterprise Resource Affiliates (CCMERA), an organization dedicated to supporting underserved communities, provides aspiring entrepreneurs with resources like tailored education, funding, and mentorship. 

Their mission is to ignite economic development, create jobs, and help individuals transform their dreams into thriving businesses. 

Through programs and initiatives, they equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to overcome systemic barriers, fostering self-reliance and vibrant communities.

CCMERA champions the idea that entrepreneurship and business ownership are key to reducing the wealth disparity. 

They focus on uplifting businesses led by Black, African American, and other marginalized groups, helping to unlock their potential and stimulate 

economic progress in these communities. 

Through initiatives like community development financial institutions (CDFIs), minority business development agencies, and microfinance programs, CCMERA provides essential funding and technical support to these entrepreneurs.

The organization is committed to bridging the economic divide and fostering a more equitable future where success is accessible to all. This commitment was celebrated at the recent CCMERA Business and Leadership Awards Gala, which acknowledged individuals whose achievements motivate others to persist in their efforts. 

Kelcey Newman, Creativity Director and owner of Attain Design and Marketing Communication, was honored at the Gala and said, “By working together, Black business owners can have a big economic impact, no matter how many of us there are. It shows that everyone needs to help to fix the wealth gap. It really does take a village.”

Getting involved with CCMERA is crucial as they strive to create more opportunities and resources for minority-owned businesses. A key event in this effort is the Melanin Marketplace Black Expo in July. 

This expo is a unique chance for entrepreneurs of color to connect, learn, and grow. 

By going to the Melanin Marketplace Black Expo, you’re actively supporting the development of an inclusive economy.

There are several ways you can contribute to this cause. Donating, volunteering, or forming partnerships with CCMERA are great ways to start. 

If you’re interested in learning more about CCMERA or want to get involved by volunteering or partnering, know that your actions make a difference. 

Supporting Black-owned businesses and engaging in discussions on economic improvement are vital steps toward helping 

communities flourish. 

By participating, you’re part of building an economy that works for everyone.

Gilbert is the Director Media of Media Relations for CCMERA. He is also a Behavioral Health Specialist in Ventura County.