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By: Errol A. Gibbs

I trust the conferences and presentations during February BHM 2024 will be pioneering, significant, solution-oriented, and futuristic (2024 – 2074). I imagine that with the emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) (Industry 4.0), the following seven critical entities have come together to deliver exuberant strategic visions and plans to establish Black Empowerment as a “force multiplier” for the coming decades. Today’s Black leadership is paramount to the social and economic survival of the next generation(s):

  1. Public Sector
  2. Private Sector
  3. Academics
  4. Intellectuals
  5. Black Churches
  1. Community Leaders
  2. General Public


First: We are astutely aware of the realities of anti-Black racism, beginning with Black African Enslavement in the sixteenth century to the persistent challenges in the twenty-first century, affecting many aspects of Black lives—worldwide (scripted or unscripted). Strident efforts to disenfranchise Blacks are taking place in many countries and at every level of human endeavor. I highly commend Black leaders for their strident efforts to empower the Black community, notwithstanding the insufficiency of the glamourous promises by public and private sector leadership. 

Second: The Black community has been combatting various forms (distinguishable and indistinguishable) of anti-Black racism for multiple decades. Still, in 2024, the challenge is relatively the same. We are using the same language in our funding proposals—trying to address the same and new problems—embarking on similar “stop-gap” approaches (understandably)—relying on the same institutions—and expecting different results. We should be concerned and motivated beyond conferences and presentations to cause us to call for a core of Black academic, intellectual, and industrial minds to interrogate the reason(s) for this twenty-first-century dilemma. 

Third: Arguably, we (the Black community) have received, in the order of magnitude (OOM), $1 billion over the past 60 years and an aggregate of $.5 billion over the past five years in various forms of public and private sector initiatives, which are necessary. The issue is that funding generally goes to (2 -3 years) “stop-gap” programs in attempts to address the “symptoms of problems” stemming from population growth—subtle an unsubtle anti-Black racism—employment and wage inequity—corporate layoffs—housing shortages—marriage and family breakdown—fatherless homes—single mothers in need (God forbid)—youth delinquency—youth homelessness—gender inequity, and other measurable indicators.

Fourth: These are real challenges that hurts all communities, in particular the Black community. Still, they are the “symptoms” of deeper underlying issues with the funding models that have remained unchanged in the past 60 years. Community funding is “essential;” however, when it is used purely as “stop-gap” funding, it can become an accidental “crisis perpetuating funding model.” The Black community should be advocating for a twofold funding model as follows:

  1. Short-term Funding (Stop-gap) (Community Social Stability Based)
  2. Long-term Funding (Research and Development (R&D) for Infrastructure Building)

The latter R&D funding should have a specific purpose for building capacity and infrastructure. It will require permanent partnerships among the following entities:

  1. Public Sector
  2. Private Sector
  3. Black Entrepreneurs

Fifth: Paradoxically, when community organizations talk about “capacity building,” they mean the ability to grow their in-house capacity, engender collaborations, or grow new community organizations. The hope is to try to solve prevailing and increasing problems in the Black community.

Rarely “do the words “capacity building” mean “building capacity” to determine the “root cause” of problems and to eliminate, mitigate, or manage them. Rather, we should use qualitative and quantitative data to envision the following seven vision criteria to move from theory to practice. Likewise, from “stop-gap” (where feasible) to permanent and sustainability approaches such as:

  1. Holistic
  2. Permanent
  3. Macro-level
  4. Job-creation
  5. Wealth Creation
  6. Digital and Physical Infrastructure
  7. Sustainable

Every entity that advocates for Black empowerment “must” of necessity adopt these seven vision criteria, no different than the United Nations (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals they expect all countries to adopt. There are some areas of Black empowerment where we “must” become pioneers and take the lead.

Sixth: It is possible to solve the problems of the Black community, but we “must” begin by:

  1. Knowing and understanding the stock market, market capitalization, national and international procurement landscape, and job market trends.
  2. Understanding that generally focusing and serving the marginal Black marketplace is “unsustainable” for building Black wealth.
  3. Adopting an “Industrial Mindset.” It is the essential “force multiplier” for building across disciplines and addressing the above criteria. 
  1. Creating a significant long-range vision for the Black community, such as Gibbs/ACBN Canadian Black Empowerment Initiative (CBEI) with a 50-year horizon (2024 – 2074).
  2. Determining (statistically) where Blacks have the most significant technical capacity (collective skill sets) and developing specific “Think Tanks” (as many as necessary) to explore the following objectives:
  1. Strive to match Blacks’ education and skills requirements with industry needs (Blacks probably have more Ph.Ds in religion and soft sciences than the hard sciences to engender industrial growth—we “must” strive for a balance in the development of all parishioners (spiritually and materially), particularly disadvantaged Blacks.
  2. Build capable infrastructure (political, educational, intellectual, technical, physical, and digital), focusing on the rapidly evolving trends in business and industry.
  3. Consider the value of corporate employment and education as the “gateway” and pre-requisite to entrepreneurship.
  4. Adopt consummate business and project management practices and standards for managing projects, such as conducting feasibility studies for all major project undertakings.
  5. Build consortiums through “collaborative technical expertise” to bid on macro-level private and public sector contracts in the OOM of $.5 – $1 Billion.
  6. Release Initial Product Offerings (IPO) on the TSX, NYSE, and NASDAQ.
  7. Engage the Black Church in taking an interest in the “economic survivability” of Blacks underpinned by permanent and collaborative intellectual and scientific youth forums.

What do we often do as a community—instead? 

  1. We often rely on the same systems of government and institutions that we contend are the agents that perpetuate anti-Black racism, oblivious to our collective strengths.
  2. We often rely on governments and bank loans as our “force multiplier” for funding our businesses, which is necessary but could be problematic if we begin to rely on government funding to fuel entrepreneurship and some of our under-capitalized Nano, Micro, and Small Businesses.  
  3. We build silos that inadvertently exclude others from the “pecking order” of community organizations. Governments often have to encourage collaborations by mandates. Still, there is a need for “voluntary collaborations” and clarity of mutual objectives.

Seven: Consolidate the six approaches above; likewise, explore the (brief) 15 Innovative Strategies penned in Gibbs/ACBN Canadian Black Empowerment Manifesto (CBEM)_Version 2.0. Prepare a Black History Month (BHM) Score Card to measure progress over the next 50 years (2024 – 2074). As contributing citizens, we must know (year-on-year) quantitatively the following:

  1. The number of trades and technical graduates we add to the Canadian economy
  2. The number of new graduates in science and technology we add to the Canadian economy (not excluding other disciplines).
  3. The number of specific “think tanks,” co-operatives, and consortiums we have commissioned and our future projections
  4. The number of public and private sector contracts that fall into the domain of Black bidding capacity of $1 million to $.5 billion
  5. The number of contract bids we won in the range of $1 million to $.5 billion, and when we project to win a bid on a $1.0 billion contract
  6. The number of new sustainable businesses and types we add to the Canadian economy (Note: We should evaluate every Black business for its potential growth trajectory)
  7. The number of new (permanent) jobs and type we add to the Canadian economy
  8. The number of IPOs we released on the TSX, NYSE, and the NASDAQ and our projections for future releases
  9. The number of Black Canadians (male and female) corporate executive appointments nationally and internationally
  10. The number of Black business corporations that cross economic thresholds, such as market capital, net worth, and number of employees

Finally, we need a clear, measurable, and unambiguous vision for the future because significant storms are coming between 2025 and 2030. The “window of opportunity” is closing to build the appropriate infrastructure to overcome the emerging challenges that will confront future generations of Blacks in Canada and worldwide.

Feel free to share these thoughts widely and with Black leaders in the public and private sectors who advocate for Black empowerment during February 2024 _Black History Month (BHM). 

Gibbs, Errol A.

Errol was born in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, W.I. He is a naturalized Canadian citizen. Errol was employed with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) for 25 years (1070 – 1995) in various capacities, including Project Management Analyst (PMA) and Planning and Scheduling Engineer/Officer. He also lived and worked in the United States (1997 – 2002) under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Errol has International Vocational Qualifications (IVQ), a Polytechnic Engineering background, and professional experience as a Project Management and Business Process Re-Engineering Analyst.

Tel: 905.875.4956

Email: egibbs143@cogeco.ca