This is related to the discussions which are taking place today, where there is a lack of black owned businesses today. So you ask, what is direct black investment, in the regeneration world this would be the same as direct foreign investment from multinational companies, rather from people who live in the city or country where the investment is required.
The investment is linked to the skill level in the community, for example the government in the UK ensured all the young people were trained up to meet the needs of these companies which were being attracted to the town or city. This was not a total success as investment from outside sources tend to provide some benefits to the local area but tend to employ their own nationals.
Considering gentrification there is investment in black areas but the investment is from people who are likely not to employ black people or the token person. This supports my argument for direct black investment, black people are likely to employ other black people if we live in the area rather people from outside the community and there is a likelihood of the area due to money staying the the community being improved physically, socially and politically.
How would this be developed, starting by looking at the skills which are available in the area, this is fertile ground as there will be many black people with a diversity of skills, who would be looking for a diverse number of roles. There would also be a business need such as grocery shops, cosmetics, repair shops, launderettes etc….
There is a potential to start such businesses, there may be a lack of external finance, but maybe creating financial cooperatives, black people putting their money together in a fund, creating a credit union and setting up one business then using the profits to then create another business if there is not one benefactor may be a way of starting a business.
The downsides of this may be there is a lack of support or benefactors available and a lack of appetite.
Below is an example of a simple idea I had:
There was a building in the town I grew up in and it was for sale, I was thinking there was a way in which this could be purchased as it is owned by the local authority but it was possibly going to be purchased by Asian people, who would then rent it back out to our own people. I had worked out a proposal for the building to be purchased, whereby:
55% of the building would be funded by businesses
45% of the building would be paid for by the local community (minimal donation of £ per year)
This would mean the building would be owned by the black people, this building is used at least 30 weeks of the year and can be used to host other community events, to generate revenue for the upkeep and costs of the building.
This was not met with much interest and the building was taken off the market so it is still owned by the towns council.
My point is why have outside investment, and rent the building, when even in the short example, there can be an opportunity to own and control the community space and provide activities and events for the benefit of the community, with our own investment.
The need for direct black investment is important, a blog I wrote (Black Local Innovation) looks at the ways in which money and skills staying inside the black community could be a way in which we can develop our communities.
Please see the sources below which expand on this.