A key attribute for any entrepreneur is the knack for seeing opportunity where others might perceive only obstacles.
In that vein, Robert Agbede, one of the winners of the Minority Advocate award, believes that African American entrepreneurs can have a leg up when entering the global marketplace, especially in regions such as Africa, the Caribbean and South America.
There are places around the globe where our uniqueness is actually an advantage, says Agbede.
Still, Agbede, president of the African American Chamber of Commerce and founder of Advanced Technology Systems, an environmental engineering firm, is not blind to the real difficulties minority-owned businesses face doing business in the economic mainstream.
He sees his role as that of opening doors for minority enterprise within the mainstream, particularly with the regions business leadership. One of my goals is to establish a relationship with our business leaders and let them know we do have a lot to offer, he says.
Agbede advises minority business owners to take advantage of networking opportunities, such as the chambers of commerce, and get involved with economic developments groups, such as the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance.
He stresses that all businesses have the potential to gain from relationships with each other, and that relationship-building for all entrepreneurs is more important than ever.
Says Agbede: As businesses go global, this is an era of partnership.