Entrepreneurial Population Shifts Will Provide Challenges and Opportunities
The Business View – November 2017 / From the Publisher – Bill Sisson
The inevitability of demographic change in North America, related to race ethnicity and generational transition, will significantly affect chambers of commerce in the next decade and beyond. Our Chamber will be no different.
Over the next decade, we will continue to see the rapid growth of non-white, Hispanic and multiracial populations across America and here at home, and this a good thing because it keeps our populations growing. It also protects our cities from the stagnant population growth seen in many highly developed economies, such as those in Europe.
Traditional geographic assumptions about race are being challenged as never before. For example, more than 26 percent of the population of affluent Fairfax County in Northern Virginia is foreign born. Younger, college-educated African-Americans are moving to the South in record numbers, and virtually all the black population growth in cities such as Atlanta and Charlotte has been in the suburbs of those cities. The same can and will happen here in Mobile.
Population shifts present new and challenging situations for membership organizations like chambers, which have been struggling to increase inclusiveness for decades. But chambers across the nation are still remarkably white and old. As the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives’ Horizon 2025 Report points out, building a future-focused chamber without an inclusion strategy would be, at best, unwise.
Another critical area of diversity will be a generational one. Consider that by 2025, millennials will make up most of the workforce and most baby boomers will have left the workforce. It will be more and more important for our Chamber’s programming, our staff and our board of directors to reflect the makeup of our community.
That’s why I’m so proud of our board of directors, which represents our community well in its diversity: old and young, black and white, male and female – and these individuals represent organizations located within the city and outside the city. Our challenge over the next 10 years will be to take it even further, to make diversity and inclusion a complete part of our Chamber’s DNA.
Population shifts will indeed occur, but through careful planning and willingness to change, our Chamber will be prepared to truly reflect our community.
About the Mobile Chamber
The Mobile Chamber is a private business organization with more than 1,700 members and the economic developer for the City of Mobile and Mobile County. The Mobile Chamber’s focus is to provide members with networking, marketing and professional development opportunities, expand jobs in the area, develop the local workforce, advocate legislative priorities and offer resources to help small businesses grow. Additional information is on the Chamber’s website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.