AMIBA’s first-ever virtual conference, and the first conference in the Local Economy Movement to focus on racial equity, featured a keynote from Segun Idowu, the Executive Director of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts. Called a “Man of the Moment” by the Boston Globe in July of this year, Segun traced the challenges facing Black and other minority business owners in a fact-based overview of both national and local challenges.

Segun demonstrated that job growth in many markets prior to the pandemic had relied primarily on the growth of Black and minority business owners, but he also pointed out that the sectors in which much of this growth had occurred are at the ones most dependent on in-person interaction — and most threatened by the pandemic’s disruptions to everyday life. And he noted that continued growth in local economies and employment will depend on these businesses being able to access the capital and loans that they need to thrive.

Segun was welcomed to the conference by Edward Dugger, III, president of Reinventure Capital. Noting that his firm’s investments focus on Black-owned and underrepresented businesses, Ed told personal stories to illustrate his maxim that “We’re all in this together” and his guiding principals of sharing privilege, asking who needs help, and being willing to ask for help.

You can watch Segun and Ed’s comments on YouTube here:

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