Thirty percent of African American men in the U.S. are unemployed, and to lower that number, black-owned businesses must grow and invest, according to Richmond McCoy, president and CEO of UrbanAmerica LP.
“You’ve heard this before, but time is short now,” McCoy told the crowd of more than 300 guests at the Feb. 20 Legacy event at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center. “We’re being marginalized by other groups. The Latino group has their act together and there’s nothing wrong with that, but we have to work with relational currency.”
McCoy said black-owned businesses could grow in Orlando by developing a relationship with one another and working to create jobs. For example, developing a relationship with the Orlando’s African-American Chamber of Commerce is a start. According to the chamber’s website, it has just 450 members, which is very low compared to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 1,500-plus membership. McCoy, known in Orlando for buying the DoubleTree Resort Orlando in 2006 and investing $35 million in renovations, told how he started his advisory business for commercial real estate based in New York.
President of Orlando-based RYSE Media Group, J. Jackson Sr., who coordinated the event, said the same way the event was organized is the same way black-owned businesses should work. “This is the first time 10 black organizations have come together, and this is the way it should be. These organizations are working together to make sure African-Americans are employed.”
The organizations in attendance included the Orlando’s African-American Chamber of Commerce, National Black MBA Associations Inc., National Society of Black Engineers, National Associations of Black Accountants, National Black Data Processing Association, Central Florida Urban League of Young Professionals, National Sales Network, Central Florida Association of Black Journalists, Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce of Florida Inc. and the Paul C. Perkins Association.