my comments posted on Clevleand.com to Phil Morris' column on welcoming immigrants to Cleveland:http://www.cleveland.com/morris/index.ssf/2013/04/new_immigrant_talent_will_be_a.html#incart_river_default"Great column. There are hundreds of stories like Babu's percolating below the surface, waiting to beshared.In the City of Cleveland, there is increasing recognition of the economic and cultural contributions of immigrants --- and how a multicultural community that values diversity and inclusion is morecompetitive in a global economy.This is good.We need to push further --- in looking at how we can leverage our diversity assets to emerge as a GlobalCity, harvest the fruits of globalization and equitably share this with all Clevelanders.
Personally, I think Cleveland’s sweet spot is to work towards the goal of becoming the “Hotlanta of theNorth”
--- a destination city, like Atlanta, that is known for rich African American AND ImmigrantAmerican entrepreneurship and culture. There is room for all --- and we will need the talents of all tostake a position in the hyper-competitive global market.In fact, John Sibley Butler, Ph.D., the director of entrepreneurship at University of Texas, Austin, anexpert in both African American entrepreneurship and Immigrant American Entrepreneurship, haseloquently written that immigrants and African Americans have much in common --- both in sufferingfrom exclusion, and in enjoying a rich tradition in entrepreneurship (did you know that in the early 20th
century, the #1 ethnic/racial group in terms of business ownership per capita was African Americans?”).
Why is this important? Because the research demonstrates that startups --- companies less than 5 yearsold account for nearly all net job creation in American since 1985.For Cleveland to become an engine of job-creation, and therefore repopulate, we need to re-animate aspirit of entrepreneurship in all of our current and future residents. We need to make heroes of theentrepreneurs. It takes tremendous courage, perseverance and pain to start a business, and make itwork.We will also have to go global (nearly 90% of the world's economic growth in the near future will occuroutside the U.S.). We will need to build intercultural and global alliances to sell abroad and inviteinvestment here.
Dr. Butler also writes that he does not but into the notion that immigrants are “takers” and also believes
that the urban core of older American cities will be rebuilt by both African American AND immigranttalent.