Working Together to be Better
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb
When speaking to a crowd of 300 at the 4th City First Community Development Conference, President and CEO of Enlightened Inc., Antwanye Ford, touched on the importance of small businesses working together to accomplish a common goal; to meet the economic challenges that exist within low wealth communities of our city, Washington, D.C.
This responsibility of building small business partnerships, not only strengthens the community, but strengthens the organizations themselves. The opportunity to elaborate on this belief presented itself when Ford took his seat on stage as a member of a panel addressing the creation of employment, wealth, and influence by small businesses. Ford stated, “Small businesses should be gap fillers for each other;” enhancing the growth and success of all partnered parties which additionally directly contributes to the economic growth of a city’s surrounding neighborhoods.
Camaraderie amongst small businesses is not just a responsibility, but rather a natural manifestation that takes place when organizations share common choices, experiences, challenges, or goals. To Ford, there is a common choice that all small businesses must have once made that bonds them all together; “City Government should trust small business owners more. They have given up the safety net of corporate America,” said Ford. It is that same choice from which all small businesses have built their foundation.
City First’s vision is not one that can be fulfilled by one person or, one organization alone. Their vision to live in “a society in which every individual, family, and community has the opportunity and the access to capital and resources which will allow them to improve their well-being and prosper” is one that many share, but have yet to accomplish. The first step to making this vision a reality, is to open the doors for conversation; a conversation on how teamwork or, partnership amongst various organizations (not just small businesses), can create better futuristic opportunities for Washington’s communities.
That first communicative step, is taken each year at this conference.