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Listen to the latest episode of How to Really Run a City, recorded live at the African American Museum in Philadelphia with former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia Citizen co-founder Larry Platt, Newark, NJ, mayor Ras Baraka, and Bruce Katz, author and director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University.

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LISTEN: How to Build Black Business Density, Part I

In the latest installment of our How to Really Run a City Podcast, former Philly Mayor Michael Nutter and former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed host an all-star lineup of mayors and experts to address one of the most pressing issues of our time

LISTEN: How to Build Black Business Density, Part I

In the latest installment of our How to Really Run a City Podcast, former Philly Mayor Michael Nutter and former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed host an all-star lineup of mayors and experts to address one of the most pressing issues of our time

Most of the world knows Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for his rousing speeches and impassioned action around civil rights. Less known is how intensely he worked towards economic opportunity and fairness. When he was murdered, Dr. King left behind a cadre of close individuals — including activist and politician Andrew Young — who worked tirelessly to bring his vision to life in Atlanta, Georgia.

That legacy — stretching from Young to Maynard Jackson to former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, co-host of our How to Really Run a City podcast — laid the foundation for Atlanta today to have the highest rate of Black businesses in the country. Just one example of what this looks like in practice: At Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International — the busiest airport on earth, with a concession procurement at $3.3 billion — for every dollar spent, 46 cents goes to a woman or a Black business owner.

These successes and more were the subject of The Citizen’s first-ever live recording of How to Really Run a City. The African American Museum in Philadelphia hosted the rousing session, kickoff of the 3rd Annual National Convening of Black Mayors, hosted by the African-American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, and DE.

Subscribe to How to Really Run a City on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Joining Reed onstage were podcast co-hosts, former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Citizen co-founder Larry Platt, as well as two other riveting experts: Newark, NJ, mayor Ras Baraka, and Bruce Katz, former HUD chief of staff under Presidents Clinton and Obama, author of the seminal The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism, and director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University.

When thinking about Black business growth, Nutter called on leaders to be “intentional about our intentions.” This is exactly what Mayor Baraka has done in Newark by launching a startup fund for Black and Brown city businesses, along with required classes where founders hone their business skills. Baraka developed Newark’s executive accelerator program for business expansion. The program pairs business owners with anchor institutions in the city, who, in turn, are expected to spend more money with the businesses in the program. Baraka also turned the need to convert outdated infrastructure into a veritable economic development and public works program.

All three of the mayors’ efforts dovetail with what Katz has dubbed the model of “the 5 Cs,” those factors that underlie Black business density: context; contracts; coaching; corridors; and capital.

“Being pro-Black doesn’t mean you’re anti-anybody else,” Nutter told the standing-room-only crowd. “You’re just putting extra emphasis over here because of the extra neglect that there’s been for hundreds and hundreds of years. So don’t get it twisted and don’t get upset.”

After that gem, it was off to audience questions. Derrick Wood, mayor of Dumfries, VA, kicked it off with his profound Q: “What’s one thing that you’re most proud of that could be implemented the fastest in other cities?”

The answer to that? You’ll have to listen to find out.

The event was jam-packed with so much wisdom, we split the podcast recording into two episodes — listen to part 1 here, then stay tuned for part 2, coming soon!

Subscribe to How to Really Run a City on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

MORE ON BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES FROM THE CITIZEN

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