Keynote Address to ICSB Knowledge Summit at United Nations



May 11th 2017

New York, New York


Allow me to first welcome all the delegates and participants of the International Council on Small Business Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Knowledge Summit.  This is a very important event concerning the economic status of the entire world via entrepreneurial interaction with each other.  I am Harry C. Alford, President and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce which is based in Washington, DC.  We are celebrating our 25th year.  When we began in 1993, the United States had 300,000 Black owned firms doing $30 billion in annual sales (according to the US Census Bureau).  Today, we can see noticeable growth as the reported total of Black businesses in the United States is over 2.6 million and revenues exceed $187 billion (2012 estimate, US Census Bureau).  We are very proud of that growth.

The National Black Chamber of Commerce is guided by our living mission statement: The purpose of the Chamber shall be to teach capitalism and expand access to capitalization, technical support, procurement opportunities, effective networking, and sharing of information for Black owned businesses and other minority owned businesses as well as the African descendent community. The main vehicle of disseminating information concerning this purpose is through the Black chambers located throughout the United States and the entire Black Diaspora and via mass marketing. A strategic plan drives the activities. The Chamber is non-profit, nonpartisan, and non-sectarian and abides by the rules set forth via IRS 501(c)3 classification.

We have chapters and direct members throughout the United States.  Also, we have a presence in France, the Caribbean, Columbia, Costa Rica, Surinam and 34 nations on the African Continent.  We proudly proclaim to be the largest Black business association in the world.

-What are the ingredients to a successful Global Movement supporting Micro, Small and Medium enterprises?

The ingredients are few but profound.  One is the presence of a “corruption free” society.  Too many of our nations reek of illegal activity.  There are some governments that litter their manning tables with ghost employees.  There are reports that some may inflate their manning tables by as much of 33% of the total.  This is to justify foreign aid that is received and reverted to personal gain.  Donations that are intended to provide economic growth for a fledgling nation may end up padding the personal wealth of a few who choose to manipulate the intended opportunities for their fellow citizens.  Money and more money comes in to never be seen again.

Another ingredient would be the abolishment of illegal trade such as weapons and chemicals to evil doers.  The operators of this deadly activity are known or should be known by the distinguished members of this body.  It is time to flex the diplomatic and/or military muscle that this union certainly has and eradicate this world of such vermin. Entrepreneurs can only thrive in a peaceful and vibrant environment. 

We must all invest in our Human Capital.  Why shouldn’t 100% literacy be the goal for all nations?  Our children cannot have a chance for success if they are not literate.  100% literacy will guarantee a growth of vibrant entrepreneurs thriving within our communities and contributing to our local economies through their new and positive enterprises which provide jobs and self- sufficiency within our villages, towns, and large cities.

Along with literacy is the deployment of technology such as increasing broadband, Internet and increased access to energy and electricity.  This levels the playing field for future entrepreneurs trying to connect with the rest of the world at the speed of thought.

Free and Democratic Elections will also provide a peaceful and productive environment which would be conducive to business possibilities and job growth.  It will also lead to a quality of life for an entire nation plus a stable economy resulting in the advance of all economic indicators.  Stability is the greatest incentive to all business creators (also known as risk takers).

“A government that governs least is a government that governs best.”  This quote by the famous American founding father, Thomas Jefferson, still applies today.  There must be a conscious effort to examine our laws and regulations and ensure that they are not unnecessarily abusive to our upcoming business owners.  We find in my country that the cost of adhering to some regulations is costly and damaging to the future of one’s business.  We are now currently reviewing our regulations and finding billions of dollars of unnecessary costs affecting our small business owners.

Finally, Capitalism will trump Socialism every time.  Show me a nation whose economy grows more than it stagnates and I will show you an example of capitalism.  Show me a nation which is mired in bureaucratic turmoil and I will show you socialism.  How did Venezuela change from compatible wealth to modern day famine?  The abuses of socialism.

Thank you very much for allowing me to speak before you.