Election 2016: Architect of Inclusive Competitiveness may have formula to win White House

There have been many extraordinary stories emerging from this presidential election, but the biggest one of all may have an impact that starts in April and hits a crescendo in July. The five remaining candidates are all focused on delegate counts as they race toward the Republican and Democratic conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia respectively.

Meanwhile, sitting in Cleveland, Ohio, awaiting the arrival of a boiling cauldron of self-professed angry Republicans, is the architect of the nation’s only Inclusive Competitiveness vision, strategy and framework that could potentially unify Americans around the perennial top concerns of the electorate: the economy and jobs.

Image courtesy of InclusiveCompetitiveness.com

Johnathan Holifield, author of “The Future Economy and Inclusive Competitiveness,” knows quite a bit about competing at the highest levels. He is a former NFL player, attorney, civil rights and social justice leader, and a highly sought-after tech-based economic development consultant with a focus on empowering underrepresented populations to compete in the global innovation economy as both job seekers and job creators. Ironically, in this presidential election year it is yet another black man with an inclusive strategy who holds the formula to win the White House.

While the front-running candidates count their party delegates, who could potentially propel them to victory at the July conventions, and the challengers position themselves for contested conventions, all five candidates may want to take note of important economic data that could play a significant role in their efforts to engage support from minority populations in both the primary and general election cycles:

Explosive Entrepreneurial Growth

America is in dire need of job-creating entrepreneurs. And the highest rate of entrepreneurial growth in America is among black women entrepreneurs, a data point that exploded to an astounding 322 percent growth rate since 1997.

Today, black women own 60 percent of the 2.6 million black-owned businesses, but in total they all combined produce less than 1 percent of GDP. To add insult to injury, 96 percent of all black-owned businesses are sole proprietors with no employees. Meanwhile, no region in the nation has a regional competitiveness strategy that includes capitalizing on investing in the nation’s most active entrepreneurial sector to scale up job growth.

Similarly, the rate of Hispanic entrepreneurship also grew at an impressive 43 percent since 2007 (compared to a national average growth rate of 2 percent) for a total of 3.3 million businesses. However, 91 percent of those businesses are sole proprietors with no employees. The ability of black and Hispanic-owned businesses to grow and produce jobs remains anemic, even as the entrepreneurial spirit in these sectors soars at an all-time high.

Inclusion vs Exclusion

The Ohio Board of Regents unanimously adopted the policy report, “Inclusive Competitiveness,” initiated by Johnathan Holifield, in the fall of 2014.
“America simply cannot, indeed will not, reach her highest competitiveness goals with so much of her population producing so little,” says Holifield, who calls for policy changes akin to the Inclusive Competitiveness policy report unanimously adopted by the Ohio Board of Regents in the fall of 2014.

The rapidly approaching racial demographic shifts across the nation project that black and Hispanic populations alone will comprise 42 percent of America’s total population by mid-century. According to the Pew Research Center:

The nation’s population will rise to 438 million in 2050, from 296 million in 2005, and fully 82% of the growth during this period will be due to immigrants arriving from 2005 to 2050 and their descendants. Immigration is projected to be the key driver of national population growth in the coming half century, but it is important to note that possible future changes in immigration policy or other events could substantially alter the projected totals.
By 2050, the nation’s racial and ethnic mix will look quite different than it does now. Non-Hispanic whites, who made up 67% of the population in 2005, will be 47% in 2050. Hispanics will rise from 14% of the population in 2005 to 29% in 2050. Blacks were 13% of the population in 2005 and will be roughly the same proportion in 2050. Asians, who were 5% of the population in 2005, will be 9% in 2050.

It may be a good time to break the news to the candidates: Both Cleveland and Philly are minority majority cities. The vision of an Inclusive America will have far greater influence than a nostalgic message of an Exclusive America of the 20th century, which was great for some Americans and not so great for many others. In the lead-up to the conventions, candidates will have opportunities to gain practice competing for minority voters in a cluster of five minority majority cities in the northeast starting in April:

· New York, NY (April 19)

· Bridgeport, CT (April 26)

· Wilmington, DE (April 26)

· Baltimore, MD (April 26)

· Philadelphia, PA (April 26)

Inclusive Competitiveness

In the pre-Obama era, presidential candidates seldom had to be concerned with economic inclusion campaign strategies and incorporating economic policies that empowered underrepresented populations to compete as both job seekers and job creators in a 21st century globally competitive innovation economy. Today, whoever intends to move to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue next January would do well to establish an Inclusive Competitiveness policy that invests in connecting historically disconnected and economically distressed communities to their local innovation ecosystems.

A giant step in the right direction for the next president might be to appoint America’s first Director of Inclusive Competitiveness to begin the monumental task of transitioning the nation from reliance upon an obsolete 20th century era filled with past policies of economic exclusion, to progress forward toward a future frontier of economic inclusion and competitiveness. If any presidential candidate, congressional or statewide candidate, is seeking an advisor on economic inclusion and competitiveness, you don’t have to look far; there’s a black man in Cleveland who literally wrote the book on the issue.

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Mike Green is an award-winning journalist, national speaker and co-founder of ScaleUp Partners LLC. Reach Mike via Twitter: @amikegreen2 or email mike@scaleuppartners.com.

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