The Need for Economic Development
Many members of economically depressed communities:
- Go hungry every day.
- Cannot afford a healthy diet.
- Live in a chemically contaminated environment.
- Cannot obtain employment at a living wage.
- Are homeless, do not have affordable housing, and cannot obtain employment.
- Do not have access to affordable healthcare.
- Do not live in a physically safe environment.
Many members of economically depressed communities:
- Do not know that they can be involved in the planning of their students’ educational programs.
- Do not know that they can demand that their students’ schools have competitive academic and vocational-technical programs.
- Are not able to ensure that their students' education will assist them in obtaining employment.
- Cannot ensure that their students are not hungry most of the time.
- Cannot ensure that their students live in and are educated in a physically safe environment.
- Students' are homeless.
Economic Business Centers
The Living-Learning-Working Program can solve the above problems. At the heart of the program is the Economic Development Center and socially responsible businesses.
Living Learning and Working Inc. will be responsible for setting up and managing the Economic Development centers. Economic Development Centers will be established in each community. Economic Development centers will: establish business incubators in each community and set up regional research and develop centers.
Economic Development centers will encourage the development of those businesses which:
- Equalize the flow of financial assets through the community.
- Provide the greatest level of employment of people in the community.
- Cost the least to establish.
- Are the quickest and easiest to establish.
- Concentrate on satisfying the demands of the community market.
- Concentrate on satisfying the demands of other national and foreign markets.
- Strive to set prices for goods and services that:
- The communities can afford.
- Make their goods and services affordable and exportable abroad.
- Provide a living wage and benefits for their workers.
- Produce highly competitive goods and services.
- Are owned or managed by veterans, women, youth, retired people with prior business experience, people with the education qualification with little or no business experience, and any other members of the community.
- Are socially responsible.
Economic Development centers will encourage members of the community to:
- Patronize community-based businesses first.
- Help to ensure that the businesses’ resources are not stolen nor misused.
- Help to ensure that the businesses are not robbed nor burglarized.
Economic Development centers, in different communities, will trade with each other. Economic Development centers will encourage trade with foreign countries in order to expand a community’s economy.
Economic Development Centers will be responsible for :
- Encouraging local members of the community to become business owners.
- Helping to start up new businesses in the community.
- Helping to identify potential business owners in the community.
- Helping businesses select employees from the community.
- Encouraging innovation by assisting inventors and innovators to patent and implement their innovations.
- Teaching members of the communities how to establish, manage, and expand businesses.
- Partnering prospective business owners with mentors who have experience in their prospective line of business.
- Ensuring that all businesses are properly structured and organized.
- Serving as advisors and overseers of the businesses.
- Simulating every aspect of a business before it opens.
- Ensuring that a business breaks even within a year.
- Encouraging non-local businesses to establish branches of their businesses in the communities with the understanding that the businesses must provide:
- Jobs with a living wage and benefits.
- Opportunities to advance.
- Competitive priced products and services.
- Establish community crime watches.
- Setting up and operating food community distribution centers.
- Helping to recruit volunteers for community projects.
- Actively involving the youth in business activities.
- Helping to plan and implement community events.
- Periodically conducting community needs surveys.
- Performing community needs analysis.
- Issuing a quarterly report on the community’s needs and status.
Principles Of Socially Responsible Businesses
Underlying principles for socially responsible businesses are:
- The following are community assets:
- Volunteer work.
- Meeting places or business offices.
- Grants used to establish and maintain businesses.
- Business advice.
- Establishment of web sites.
- Marketing of business products and services.
- Assisting businesses in obtaining credit.
- Assistance with obtaining a business charter.
- Assistance with obtaining business loans and financing.
- Assistance with obtaining federal contracts.
- Grant writing.
- Client referrals.
- Development of business plans and procedures.
- Establishment of computerized accounting systems.
- Development of marketing plans.
- Development of Business Operations Plans.
- Providing or coordinating business seminars.
- Financial and operations auditing.
- Management consulting and advising.
- Preparing and training employees.
- Legal and Economic Assistance.
- Real-estate Purchase Assistance.
- Community assets which are provided to assist in the establishment of businesses will be converted to their financial equivalent for the purpose of considering their worth as a financial investment.
- The value of community assets which are provided to assist in the establishment of businesses will be considered on par with liquid financial investments.
- Communities will be valid stockholders of any businesses to which they provide assets.
- The community’s ownership of businesses will be proportional to the value of assets that the community provided to the businesses.
- Community assets should be used to minimize the liquid financial investment required to establish businesses.
State of Indian Country
In her article on "A Voice for Indian Country", Kimberly Teehee, a member of the Cherokee Nation and the first senior policy advisor for Native American affairs, talks about the socioeconomic challenges of "Indian Country". She mentions:
- High unemployment,
- Infrastructure needs,
- Health care,
- High crime rates.
The socioeconomic challenges facing "Indian Country" are not that different from those facing rural and urban areas in America.
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