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Building Ecosystems That Support Entrepreneurs of Color

Building Ecosystems That Support Entrepreneurs of Color

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Builder Talent Tuesday Webcast Series
  • Season 2, Episode 5
  • Learn about building business ecosystems that will support those with limited access to entrepreneurial resources, including rural communities and communities of color.
  • Interested in learning more on this topic? Read more about how to improve teamwork in the workplace.

Dell Gines, Senior Executive of the Federal Reserve Kansas City branch in Omaha, Nebraska, was our guest on a recent Gallup Builder Talent Tuesday webcast. Dell detailed his vision for building business ecosystems that will support entrepreneurs in rural communities and communities of color. His insights included:

  • How to create an entrepreneurial culture that drives wealth and fosters equality in these communities
  • Lessons from Silicon Valley that can be applied to underserved communities
  • The critical relationship between access to broadband internet and entrepreneurship and economic vitality

Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.

How we do economic development is also how we do democracy. And it's also how we treat people fairly. And these are the conversations we're not really having.

Dell Gines, 26:55

In ecosystem building, ... every community has to kind of orient themselves to what they want to be and not try to replicate Silicon Valley. But there are lessons from Silicon Valley that are useful at the largest scale.

Dell Gines, 10:35

If I was going to centralize one aspect that the government was going to tackle ... it will be universal broadband ... as a state mandate. ... You can't leave people out of the digital age and expect your economy to remain strong and equal.

Dell Gines, 44:58

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and live from our virtual studios around the world -- at least today, in Omaha, Nebraska -- this is Gallup's Builder Talent Tuesday, recorded on July 28, 2020.

Jim Collison 0:26

Builder Talent Tuesday is a Gallup webcast series that dives deep into the Builder Profile talents in the community around it. We interview Gallup experts and independent BP10 coaches to help maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room. There's a link actually right above me there. If you want to click on that, it'll take you to YouTube. Sign into the chat room. You can put your questions in there live, and we will discuss them as well. If you have questions after the fact, you can always send us an email: Todd Johnson is our host today. Todd's Gallup's Channel Leader for Entrepreneurship and Job Creation. And, Todd, it's always great to have you back. Welcome back to Builder Talent Tuesday!

Todd Johnson 1:03

Time flies! It seems like there are times during this pandemic that it seems like time stands still. And then there are times that it flies by, and I have no scientific explanation for that. I've -- this has been fascinating as we've relaunched. But every single edition we've had, Jim, I think I've been more excited about our guests. And that's not to diminish previous guests and not to put pressure on future guests. But this is a real exciting one. I'm not going to read Dell's bio. I mean, how many times have we been out giving talks where somebody stands up and reads your bio? I'm not going to do that. I've, I've known this gentleman for many, many years -- is it 10 or more?

Dell Gines 1:45

At least, at least that. It could even be before I came to the Fed. I've been at the Fed for 10 years this year.

Todd Johnson 1:52

We've -- and we've been really good friends for at least half that time that -- nah, we've been friends since the beginning and have shared many panels and many podiums around, around the state, around the Midwest. Dell is a Senior Executive of the Federal Reserve Kansas City branch based here in Omaha. We're blessed to have him in Omaha. He's an accomplished author, on the topic of which we're going to discuss today. He's proficient speaker and evangelist on the importance of ecosystems and talents.

Todd Johnson 2:27

But I thought I'd share a kind of a goofy story. When, when I was first coming into my professional career, a mentor once told me, Dell -- I don't know if you know this, but -- a mentor said, "Never share the stage with someone who's smarter, better looking and funnier." And as I was reflecting, apparently, your mentor never shared that advice! I'm sorry, that's a joke. We tend to open these up levity, levity.

Todd Johnson 2:53

But in all seriousness, I can, I can joke with you about that, because none of it's true. I've been amazed at your ability to transform a room with your vision, with your mission. And we're going to kind of -- this is your show. But I've got a few questions that I want to just kind of get us going with. And just for the audience, we didn't, we didn't share these in advance. So these are not prompted or, or these were just reflecting on your expertise. You know, I thought you could first start us off -- and it's a term that I actually think is really misunderstood. When we're talking entrepreneurship, I cringe when people say "pivot," because in my vernacular, "pivot" is something that squirts the irrigation fields. At least in Nebraska, that's what a pivot is. But another term that's always baffled me because people use it in so many different contexts is "ecosystem." Dell, what, what is an ecosystem?

Dell Gines 3:54

The short way to think about it, it's just logical. It's, it's the context and the networks in which entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. I mean, you could simplify really is that, you know, there's different features, you know, that you, you add in that. Like we usually look at -- at least in, you know, my work -- the 6 elements of it, which are -- and your coaches will appreciate this, like, the things an entrepreneur has, like a tool that they acquire, utilize in the what's happening in their environment, and how they interact with each other.

Dell Gines 4:25

So, like you have your human capital, like you focus on talent at Gallup, right. You know, BP10, you know, focuses on human capital. Then you have your social capital, which is your networks, you know, your connections that the, those kind of resources driven through relationships. Like it could be someone picking up the phone and calling you as a business owner and saying, "Hey, I've got an opportunity for you. Want to check it out?" Somebody could put you on to different opportunities that you may have not considered before in your business, things like that.

Dell Gines 4:55

Then of course you have your financial capital, you know, the lifeblood of business. Those are kind of the things that an entrepreneur has like a possession of, for example. You know, then you have your environmental factors, which are kind of your culture, which is very understated. A culture is not just, you know, kind of like your local culture that, you know, supports, that celebrates and supports entrepreneurship, sets social expectations and things of that -- like that. It could also be bigger. Your, your orientation towards risk, like you go through BP10 risk orientation, like the general orientation towards risk, towards a, within a community.

Dell Gines 5:31

Example, let's, you know, we've heard stories in rural communities of the antirisk, conservative nature, and this not just rural, but rural just comes to top of mind, where in some communities, entrepreneurs are, are actually stifled because of the fear of failure and what the, the culture in the community will say if they fail, and therefore they don't start. Right. So the issues of culture, what, how it contributes or detracts from, you know, the necessary elements of risk-taking, of being celebrated as an entrepreneur, social expectations of entrepreneurship.

Dell Gines 6:05

Then you have your infrastructure, which is just logical, which, you know, consists of, like, what we were talking about before and we'll get into later, which is, you know, access to broadband, you know, the local technology. But also your physical infrastructure, like, you know, the, the environmental factors like streetscapes, accessible retail at affordable prices, based upon the environment. And then you, of course, have your policy. You know, what is your local community doing to, you know, create effective policies that support entrepreneurship? Are they reducing unnecessary red tape? Are they developing funding mechanisms to support the ecosystem, etc. All those 3 things.

Dell Gines 6:45

So you have those 3, you know, factors that entrepreneurship has, you know, human capital, social capital, financial capital -- all of which can be developed. And then you have the environmental factors that kind of are what they operate in, or they, they start their firms, you know, and grow their firms in.

Dell Gines 7:02

And so those are kind of the elements, that we say, of the ecosystem. But it's, it's important, this is what makes it different, right? It's not just that their elements exist; it's that they all interact together in dense and intelligent ways to support the entrepreneur. That's what makes ecosystem building unique to any of its predecessor forms of economic development -- industrial attraction, entrepreneurial development in the '80s, cluster-based building -- is that the entrepreneur is front and center, and the ecosystem is designed to support that individual to start and grow the firms in the best way possible. And so that's, that's kind of what I've been working on the past 10 years.

Todd Johnson 7:40

Yeah. OK, so in those 10 years, and put you on the spot here, but who, or where in the country is just rocking it? Who is best practice? And I know you're not going to say Silicon Prairie because -- or Silicon Valley -- because, you know, I've been there many times and the place is full of everybody from the world trying to replicate that ecosystem, which is just a fallacy and not gonna work. But -- so you're not allowed to say that one. But who, what are some -- pick rural, pick Midwestern, pick whatever you want. Who's rocking it? And why and how'd they do it?

Dell Gines 8:16

Yeah, yeah. So I know Don Mackey, from Center for Rural Entrepreneurship. Well, it's not that anymore -- entrepreneurship to accelerators down with Network Kansas, but he's from Nebraska. Most -- a lot of people here know him. You know, he'll tell you, Ord, Nebraska, kind of their deep-dive case study, you know, rural Nebraska, you know, organized around supporting entrepreneurship and the culture that supports it. You know, it's a small rural community as an example of that.

Dell Gines 8:45

You got the work they're doing in network Kansas with the ecommunities, which is the subject of my dissertation. You know, there's now up to like, I believe 66 ecommunities across the state of Kansas -- the only state that actually has a statewide, you know, economic development model that focuses on ecosystem building, run by Eric Peterson, and Steve Ratley, you know, my friends down there. Then you got -- get, starting to get into some more specific, you know, initiatives from different areas of the communities. You know, you have, you know, Kofi for Miami, you know, focuses on African American and Latina-, Latino-oriented tech ecosystems and the development of that. So, you're starting to see these.

Dell Gines 9:27

Now, we would be remiss not to point to Silicon Valley -- not because it's the standard that we should strive for, but because it's just an example of how an organic ecosystem developed. And it has its flaws, you know, a lot of racism, sexism out there, and now, you can't even live there, by many accounts, for the average person. But when you look at it, the reason people, you know, kind of look at Silicon Valley, and kind of say this is, this is something we strive to be is because they figured out a few things. One, they figured out that you know, driving tech-bit-led innovation and entrepreneurship is -- building an ecosystem around it.

Dell Gines 10:03

So if you take those 6 elements that I put there, right, and you superimpose that over Silicon Valley, you can kind of see how it works at one of the largest possible scales, where you have very fluid and interactive education training, cultural orientation, infrastructure developments, you know, social capital, social network. All of these things are what have, you know, it evolved into almost organic well, very much organically, with the exception of a few people driving in an early stage to say, We're now producing this. You know, what we say in ecosystem building is every community has to kind of orient themselves to what they want to be and not try to replicate Silicon Valley. But there are lessons from Silicon Valley that are useful at the largest scale, when we say we want, we want to build an ecosystem.

Todd Johnson 10:53

Interesting. Yeah, it, again, frustrates me that so many communities try to cookie-cutter stamp that exact infrastructure or culture on their community. And you've -- you and I have talked about that over the years.

Dell Gines 11:10

I mean, if you want, if you want a lot of racism, then yeah, cookie-cutter it. If you want a lot of sexism, cookie-cutter it, but I think we can do better.

Todd Johnson 11:18

That's, that's leading into my next question, even. We didn't prepare any of this, but you've seen the data. We've shared some of our recent data, we know that the talent to build, you know, knows no ZIP code and is, is beautifully agnostic, as it relates to, you know, gender and diversity and inclusion and all the important topics of the day. In your expert opinion, why do we have -- I'll just call it a problem, but we could probably say crisis -- in, you know, people of color starting businesses? What, what's going on out there? And how do we fix it?

Dell Gines 11:54

You know, Todd, I forgot, I forgot to say that these views do not necessarily represent the views of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, nor the Federal Reserve Banking system.

Todd Johnson 12:02

Whenever I've given talks, you start with that.

Dell Gines 12:04

Yeah, so I guess after that, those last couple of statements, I probably should have put that out there.

Todd Johnson 12:08

Jim can cut it and put that out front.

Dell Gines 12:11

Either way, it got said. So --

Todd Johnson 12:13

This is Dell Gines et al.

Dell Gines 12:14

So, so, but, but it's interesting. So I just recently wrote an article on Medium. And I wish I would have, you know, gotten that early research, you and Sang -- Dr. Badal did earlier -- on, because I knew it was in the BP10, where you all kind of show through the research that you know, kind of this talent cuts. I mean, like, all the, everything that you sent me was within the margin of error. You everything's pretty much equal, like the talent is universal. And so if the entrepreneurial talent is universal, then it's gonna break by, and obviously, we can quibble on how that's defined, and what we're looking at when we say "entrepreneur," but using your methodology, it's universal. So Black women, White male, South African, Asian, it's all within the margin of error that the talent is gonna break across the population fairly consistently. Right?

Dell Gines 13:06

I wrote an article call -- recently, I think, a couple weeks ago, on Medium that that said how not building an inclusive ecosystem leads to economic inefficiency. And there's a logic to it, right? So, you know, and I went back, wonky stuff that probably most of your people won't care about. But you know, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker wrote way back in the 1950s, and '60s about the taste for discrimination.

Dell Gines 13:32

And what he was showing is that, you know, at the time, White people would be either willing to pay more to get a product from a White person, where equally or cheaper per, you know, product from a Black -- than an equally cheaper product from a Black person, or in the labor market, would pay a Black person less to do the same job and the same productivity, right? So, and he went to ultimately win a Nobel Prize for kind of showing that this historical view of economics as simple inefficiency of the marketplace is creating inefficiency was not accurate. There's actual inefficiency created by this.

Dell Gines 14:06

So when you look at an ecosystem that's not inclusive, meaning that we're not really doing our best possible to get the resources to entrepreneurs based upon their talent level, and not any other associated characteristics like race, gender, etc., you create inefficiency. Well, why is that? Because ultimately, what ends up happening is you end up allocating more resources to get the same results if you're just --

Dell Gines 14:33

Let's take, let's say, discrimination, with, with, you know, Whites versus Blacks. And BP10, let's take the BP10 framework. And you have these two uberentrepreneurs: One is White and one is Black. Now, let's say that, that resources are allocated towards the second tier of the White, you know, entrepreneur, where he doesn't have that same you know, uberentrepreneurship. He's just solid, but he's average. But yet him and the, and the entrepreneur that has the ubertalent, the African American ubertalent, both get the same level of resources. Well, logically, that's not going to be the most efficient way to allocate it. Because he's going to produce less than this person. In a logical world, we're going to allocate the resources, the most of those that are going to produce the most from an economic standpoint.

Dell Gines 15:24

Now, if, if you end up replicating this across the entire scale, and now you start seeing how the resources are allocated so inefficiently because we continue -- racism and discrimination gives the resources to the people that have lesser talent, on average, than the group that's discriminated against. And if the BP10 model is correct, logically, we want to apply the most resources to the ones that are going to produce the most return on investment. And discrimination inhibits that. So you have an inefficient entrepreneurship ecosystem, which leads to an inefficient economy. And that's what racism and discrimination does.

Dell Gines 16:04

And so our objective, and that's why I asked you to send me the research again, because I may retroactively go back and put that in that article. Because I was, I was thinking of, you know, our conversations on that and with Dr. Badal when I was writing the article, and I just couldn't find it in my stuff. I'm like, this is where we put this in there. And we turn around and say, Well, look at the research on BP10 shows that, you know, this is, this is universally consistent across geography, etc., blah, blah, blah, everything we just said. Therefore, if both people have the same amount of talent, but we're not seeing the same level of productivity in each person, everything else has to be environmental or contextual or a personal choice.

Todd Johnson 16:45

Right. The research I remember from years ago, and it's searing. I still, and I'll share it -- the, the unemployment rate -- so economic vitality and opportunity -- the unemployment in Ferguson [Missouri], you know, was 58%. And we wonder why there was civil unrest. You know, you look around our volatile, fragile communities. And, you know, some think putting in a Walmart fixes everything, but in fact, that might wipe out -- nothing against Walmart. And I guess I'll do my Gallup disclaimer, too, because I think they're a big client of ours, but that's not economic development in a sustainable, in a sustainable way.

Dell Gines 17:29

Let's take your same concept and apply it at scale. You know, outside of the civil, you know, the civil, you know, social injustices that we're seeing that are prompting the riots. You know, I made a point, you know, and I think maybe when we were just chatting the other day, I said, you know, look at Occupy Wall Street. Like what you're seeing now is not just, just, you know, issues of social justice, where we're seeing these American riots, because then you got a global audience. Actually, it's a global, global protest. You know, there's a combination of, of economic factors going back to Occupy Wall Street, combined with the social factors of, you know, state violence on African Americans that are driving, fueling a lot of these protests.

Dell Gines 18:08

And you're exactly right. We've seen this progressive failure of our economy to adequately address the concerns of the most vulnerable populations, which is increasing. Like the wealth gap is increasing. And even though, prior to COVID, we saw a significant decline in the unemployment rate, a lot of those weren't living-wage jobs. People were working multiple jobs, like, and this creates the fuel for social unrest. Because when you have a strong economy that's working really relatively effectively for the most people that it possibly can, there's usually little incentive, outside of, you know, pure social justice issues, for people to, to riot. And this is, this is why we -- America, to our positives or negatives, whichever way you want to classify, try to explore democracy and capitalism as a way, in a lot of countries, as a way to mobilize -- early-stage mitigate social unrest in some of these communities that we're engaging,

Todd Johnson 19:06

Didn't work. I read today, some are saying now the recovery is going to be a K. I don't know if you've heard or seen that. You know, hear a lot about the V or the U or the swoosh, or the hockey stick. I've heard it's K, where the wealthiest privileged are, you know, exponentially benefiting. And then those of, in many cases, of color and of, you know, economic challenge are going to hit the deck faster, harder. So that becomes the K. I think that's something we have to figure out.

Dell Gines 19:41

Because, again, and this is totally my opinion. We have a broken form of capitalism. Our form of capitalism is broken. It's not driven by broad-based innovation and entrepreneurship; it's driven by, you know, corporate consolidation and control. And when you have corporate consolidation and control, the winners are those that have shares in those corporations. And the losers are those that, that either for lack of knowledge or lack of opportunity have access into owning and controlling those shares. So it's just logic.

Dell Gines 20:15

So if -- let's use the banking system as an example. You know, when we, I use Black banks, because that's the number that's relatively on top of my mind. There are 180 Black banks coming out of 50 years after the emancipation. There's now 21, maybe less, right? And I'm using them as an example of this hyperconsolidation in the banking industry. So you've had this massive consolidation in the banking industry to where maybe I think it's 5 to 10 banks own like 90% of all, you know, the banking assets in the space, something like that. Now, so you've basically created, you know, this hyperconcentration of banking. So as that industry grows, and they control that -- the large chunk of that system, the winners become the shareholders.

Dell Gines 21:00

And so then you start looking at, OK, well, then how does, how does wealth break down? Who is owning these things? and by and large it's not, you know, historically low-income Whites that have, you know, immobility over their multigenerational financial immobility. It's usually not your Latinos, your Blacks, your natives, etc. And so as this industry consolidates, and continues to grow to scale, and almost becomes -- remember, from the Great Recession, "too big to fail"? The winners of that are those that, by and large, have large percentages of control in that stock. And the losers are those that don't have access to that same stock. So now you have this huge and increasing wealth gap.

Dell Gines 21:39

I mean, and I'm not faulting Jeff, Jeff Bezos, like his -- because I probably added a billion dollars' worth of his net worth during COVID to do all the shopping my wife has done at Amazon during the period. So he has a valuable product. But that's kind of the way that, if we want to look at how that works, you have those that are consumers. And those that own the results of the consumption are the ones that create and get more wealth. Well, how do you fix that, Todd? More entrepreneurship!

Dell Gines 22:07

I've argued for the longest, you know, because what you've had is this rise in this pursuit of socialism. And I've argued that, one, that's a nonstarter for the broader U.S. economy at scale. It's not that we can't centralize nationally certain industries that make sense, or certain functions that make sense. That's always worth the conversation. Like, our police department is centralized in our cities, our fire departments, by and large. But let's, let's put those unique exceptions to the side. I've argued that the best way to decentralize wealth is to increase entrepreneurship for everyone. So even if we kept this, if we had the same amount of corporate wealth holdings that we have today -- they kept that the same, but we were able to adequately create inclusive ecosystems where communities of all different types and individuals or different types were able to create it own the productions of their own hands through the wealth creation process of entrepreneurship. You decentralize, you know, the wealth consolidation, and you empower communities to be more democratic and do the things that they want.

Todd Johnson 23:10

And thus comes stability, and thus, ultimately, democracy, and, and wellbeing. All those linked together. I've heard, not necessarily on the race topic, but one of the challenges to entrepreneurship in this country over the last 10 years is the Big 5: you know, eBay, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, you know, the Big 5 are buying up all the entrepreneurial technologies. A) they have the money, and B) because they don't want something to come up and compete. And so they're actually, you know, the, maybe the exit, or the founders who are getting wealthy in that process are excited, but it's not really good for the overall ecosystem to lose consolidation of the small entrepreneurial, you know, energy.

Dell Gines 23:57

Yeah. So there's research that, that shows that, Todd. So, so we do something at the Fed called "Jackson Hole." And this is where our bank president, one of the best leaders I've ever had, Esther George, one of the 12 Central Bank, you know, Federal Reserve leaders in our system, she invites central bankers from all across the world. And I think this is to Jackson Hole in Montana, once a year and they discuss major monetary issues. Right, Wyoming. I'm sorry. Sorry, Montana. I'm keep talking about Montana earlier.

Todd Johnson 24:28

I got parents out there, man; that's my country.

Dell Gines 24:30

So yeah, Wyoming. Jackson Hole, Wyoming. So one of the things that they, they came out of in this all these thought leaders of national monetary policy, global business dynamism, dynamism, and, which is the the net rate that, that entrepreneurs start and grow firms. So if possible, we want to see a surplus. We want to see growth in that. But it's on the decline. That's been one of the major challenges in the global economy, right.

Dell Gines 24:57

Now, a lot of the research shows why. Because as you grow bigger firms to scale, it, what happens is exactly what you said. So now a Microsoft or a Google, etc., they are actually buying companies to destroy that company. Because they don't want it to be, you know, a competitor, like you said, or it stifles innovation through or absorbs the innovation all within one major firm versus decentralizing the wealth production.

Dell Gines 25:29

So when I say the problem with -- that we face is not a problem with capitalism, as some would suggest, especially those that are more, you know, coming from it from a more centralized economic lens, like socialism or something similar. It's, to me, it's not fundamentally a problem with capitalism; it's a problem with broken capitalism. Because if our capitalism is not entrepreneurial, then it actually creates the consolidation in the wealth gap that everybody's complaining about. And that's what we've seen, in large part, since the 1970s, through what was known as shareholder primacy. Which means that, you know, the first thing I was taught, Todd, when I, in my MBA, first MBA finance class. When our professor asked us what -- why corporations exist, everybody was giving their answers, because we didn't know anything. He said, "No, you're wrong. Corporations exist to maximize shareholder value." This is called shareholder primacy coming out of the '70s.

Dell Gines 26:22

Now, I want you to look at a few things. And it's not all related to this. So if you go back, and you put charts together, and you show a trend line. Put a chart over the increase in the wealth gap. Put a chart over the rise in mass incarceration. And what you'll see is these things, almost track each other perfectly, right. And there's a couple others that you can put on there that are all tracking that. So all of these things are interrelated with each other. And how we do economic development is also how we do democracy. And it's also how we treat people fairly. And these are the conversations we're not really having.

Todd Johnson 27:04

Well, not to give a plug, but I will. As hopefully you've seen or people know, you know, Gallup, after George Floyd and the, the uprising, if you will, of concern, we've opened a Center on Black Voices. We're going to just for 100 years -- have you seen some of this? -- we're going to track 40 million African American voices in the country on their wellbeing and what's going on and hopes and dreams. And it was on CNBC this morning. You'll, you'll start to see it, now that we've talked about it, but we hope it's an important metric. You know, George Gallup, all the way back to the beginning, "If democracy is about the will of the people, we should know it as -- what their will is." Well, we've never really done a serious job about tracking the Black voices and their will.

Todd Johnson 27:50

And so that was launched, I want to say a week or two ago, but it's gonna be a big deal. You'll start seeing important data. So taking a slight departure (I didn't say "pivot"!), what -- how are things going in North Omaha, which is, for those viewers that don't know, one of our fragile communities. You know, what, what do entrepreneurs need? How do they find customers? I'm going to hammer questions at you. What's the role of corporate, of the corporate community, if there is one? And overall, how's it going?

Dell Gines 28:26

Yeah, it's, so, you know, like, like many, you know, urban Black communities, the challenges are remarkably consistent. Because, you know, I go all across the nation and chat, urban, rural, whatever. In our urban environment, you know, you, you trend to see, and this is universal. It's just, it's like Malcolm X said, you know, what is it said, when, when White people sneeze, Black people catch a cold? Essentially, what Malcolm was saying was that the challenges that face the average, you know, White American become exacerbated in many cases, when faced with a vulnerable population. We can use Black, Latino, whatever, right.

Dell Gines 29:01

So, so the, the deficit, like we just talked about, and just to bring it back and connected the dots. So when we talk about economic development challenges, the challenge with both democracy and equality, right, that's why economic development is so important. Because, because that's how you dist -- cities come together and states come together to decide how resources are going to be allocated to create productivity, and who's going to get the benefit thereof. So when we talk about that at the nation in this hyperconsolidation of corporations, and the impact that that has, now start breaking that down at the smaller level to the state and the city level, and then start breaking it down by targeted people groups, right.

Dell Gines 29:43

So when I say that there's a problem because we haven't focused on ecosystem building and creating a more egalitarian society to entrepreneurship, we can superimpose that over my community in North Omaha, which then it's even exacerbated. So if there's a challenge with ecosystem building and effectively supporting entrepreneurs in the average White community, it's going to be exacerbated. Now, immigrants are unique because they do trend towards starting entrepreneurship at a higher rate.

Dell Gines 30:11

But when we talk about the diverse spectrum of entrepreneurship, which we would classify as kind of let's go through all the NAICS codes from, you know, service-based businesses to tech-oriented businesses; from solopreneurs and gig economy workers to high-growth gazelle-unicorn businesses, if BP10 is correct, I'm gonna put a lot of pressure on you. If BP10 is correct, then we should be seeing the same amount of gazelles and unicorns and large scales and Mainstreet etc. in North Omaha, coming out of North Omaha -- not necessarily serving North Omaha, but coming out of North Omaha -- as we would see in a Silicon Valley. Right. In theory; in a perfect world, utopia, entrepreneurial utopia, right.

Dell Gines 30:59

But when we start seeing the dimensions break down, and we start seeing the lack of ecosystem development and the lack of resources applied to that relationships connectivity, and then you layer over discrimination, then we know that the biggest challenge that we have to face is, How do we create an entrepreneurial culture that drives wealth in our majority-Black communities and our majority communities of color?

Dell Gines 31:22

So then we look at North Omaha. And so we ask, you know, well, what do North, North Omaha entrepreneurs need? We need a broad, robust entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports the human, social and financial capital, creates a better culture of entrepreneurship, has stronger infrastructure and better policy. Some of, some of that will overlap with other needs with across the city for entrepreneurs -- and the state. And some of it will be -- have to be designed specifically for the unique needs of the North or South Omaha customer.

Dell Gines 31:53

And the -- these are why things like I think BP10 are so useful, because it -- what it does is at least gives you a beginning benchmark of how to get people to think about their talent that they have for entrepreneurship versus just being abstract. And we can say, OK, you're strong here, but maybe you need support here. Or you're, you're a potential really superstar. How do we support that? And right now, that's not in the system, by and large.

Todd Johnson 32:17

And needs to be. In the last show, we had Sangeeta on, talking about the power of team. And, you know, it's one thing to understand thyself, but how powerful is it to understand who you need around you you know, who's gonna round you off, or, or, you know, focus you because it's not natural to who you are? Maybe 10, 8 years ago, we did the study where we took the adult version, which you took back in the day, ESF [Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder], and we gave it to 3,000 high school students across Omaha: Creighton Prep, Westside, Central, Omaha North, OPS, you know, a couple Millard schools, and all the Ave Scholar kids.

Todd Johnson 33:03

And I guess we're being recorded, but -- and I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say this -- pound for pound, we had more entrepreneurial energy in the Avenue Scholars, which is a free and reduced lunch mentoring program we have that cuts across a number of different schools. But I thought that was really searing. It wasn't the, you know, affluent, suburban West Omaha high school per se, it was the Ave Scholar students who -- but to your point, with in, in absence of the other elements of your ecosystem, you know, we're not maybe not going to see the builder trend pop up.

Dell Gines 33:41

I'll give you an example before we get to Jim. So, so, so I didn't have ESPN, because like I was telling you before the call, I cut the cord, you know, and went straight digital. But now, now Michael Jordan's documentary is on Netflix. So the documentary everybody's talking about, about their final championship year. And so we would classify Michael Jordan as probably the uberentrepreneur, like, not as an entrepreneur -- I'm using him as -- his skill as a metaphor. Like if we took Jordan and made, and he was an entrepreneur on BP10, he'd be the one with everything, whatever the high color is, what -- right?

Dell Gines 34:15

Now, now, when you look at his life, and they do a little bit about his life, what would -- would Michael Jordan be as, as great as he was in, in basketball if he didn't have access to courts, coaching, a basketball, motivated family that was, you know, pushing him to be competitive and fight? So you look at the context, like talent alone is not enough. You know, you need all the things that go around it. And Michael Jordan is a great metaphor for that, because you take him away from Dean Smith at North Carolina. You take away his brother that used to bully him on the basketball court and be competitive. You take away his, even his the ability to go and play the sport in and of itself. And now you begin to see when you use that as a metaphor, why so many communities of color are not producing the same level of entrepreneurial output. We don't have the courts; we don't have the coaches; we don't have the bully brothers, all of these different things. And these are the things that we need to wrap around our entrepreneurs.

Todd Johnson 35:10

I love that analogy. And as you know, a lot of people are talking about it, which is maybe where it starts. But, but a whole lot of us are pushing to see if -- I think there's a very big proposal under development for the ecosystem of North Omaha. And others on this call are working on their, you know, community initiative. So, great analogy. Jim, do you have a question for -- ?

Jim Collison 35:33

Yeah, I have a couple. Let's, while we're talking about North O, let's go to that. Jeff asks, How many of those businesses in North Omaha have taken BP10? And are they getting coaching around talents? This kind of speaks to the question. Todd or Dell, do we have any idea on numbers there?

Dell Gines 35:47

I think Todd has done a lot of work around that, Todd.

Todd Johnson 35:50

We've had different events. Your point about the assessment versus the coaching: There hasn't been enough. Just point blank. You know, we all know that the assessment without the coaching is -- kind of goes nowhere. In Nebraska, we say, "Just because you weigh a cow doesn't make it fatter," and taking an assessment without somebody to coach you through and develop it, it's not where it should be Jeff. But at least we know that. Maybe that's part of the problem.

Jim Collison 36:23

Dell, I think this, this -- we haven't talked about this, but Justin says, How important do you feel environmental sustainability is or will become as a factor in delivering successful entrepreneurship?

Dell Gines 36:33

Well, I think it's definitely interrelated. Like you can't -- and this is where the beauty of entrepreneurship is, is we need to apply our entrepreneurs to the concept of environmental sustainability. But again, there's a lot of collusion and, and marketplace steering in that space as well. I think, when you look at it, like, I'm just gonna look at it from my daughter's an environmental justice, you know, major. When you look at it, and you look at how the issues of environmental sustainability, negative-wise, disproportionately affects Black and Brown people and low-income people, building -- like I've heard terrible stories of communities built on land fields, under power lines. There's broader-based work in that space.

Dell Gines 37:18

I think what you're going to see, and this is me putting on my Gallup Futuristic strengths hat, you know, as a Top 2 strength, I think you're going to start seeing more of a convergence between these things, where people are going to start looking at how the dots connect versus separate. And you're going to see how entrepreneurship in the ecosystem is connected to the environmental, environmentalism, and sustainability of that particular community, and the social justice side of how these things work, and a lot of other factors. Because America, as we've evolved as an economy, we became a specialized economy, which led to productivity. And as a result, you had a lot of pieces that didn't see the whole. But now with globalism, and hyperconnectivity, now, we're bringing everything back together into this interconnected weave. And we need new tools and methodologies to be able to connect those dots, and environmental justice and sustainability is one of those dots.

Jim Collison 38:13

Is there, Dell, is there a space just for entrepreneurs in this area of just environmentalism, as far as getting it right and, and helping businesses adapt and change and mold and do whatever they need to do to, to begin to move in that direction?

Dell Gines 38:30

Well, I know that there's more energy in it. But we, again, I hate to sound like a dead horse. This is why we need better ecosystem building. So if you, if you look at ecosystem building as the hardware and the particular expressions of that as the software, your software is only going to function is that like -- if I run a Windows 10 on a computer with only 2 gigs of RAM, like we would this 1-hour webinar would take 3 hours of us trying to get through it because the failures of technology. Like, and so we, we as a community need to do a better job of developing this orientation towards how do we build an ecosystem around these entrepreneurs, and the things that they're dealing with in their everyday lives? And if we can do that, then we can -- there's definitely going to be a space where we can pull together better, you know, environmental-oriented entrepreneurs because that is a thing. People are talking about it now; they think about it now; they're trying to apply it in their workforce.

Dell Gines 39:28

I know I'm -- I was talking to my friend Rob Trebilcock from Bank of the West. One of their biggest big initiatives is green energy, primarily out West. So even big industries are thinking about this. So we just need to figure out how to get our entrepreneurs to tackle it, because when entrepreneurs tackle something, it creates a win-win solution most often because they're solving the problem while generating economic productivity, which creates a win-win for everybody.

Jim Collison 39:53

Todd, do you want to add anything to that?

Todd Johnson 39:55

Nope. I -- how can I add to that? I can only ruin that.

Jim Collison 40:00

Dell, do you think -- has COVID, the COVID-19 changed anything for the better, or for the worse, when we think about the entrepreneurial space?

Dell Gines 40:10

Well, I think it's done a few things now, whether it's, it's gonna last remains to be seen. One, unlike the prior recessions is it's recentered, it's recentered the, the necessity of small-business owners. Like if you remember, early on, most of the conversation outside of the public, obviously, public health side was around the impact that the pandemic is having on small-business owners. This was not the case in the Great Recession coming out of 2008. Small-business owners have been front and center. It's forced many communities to look at how they support these businesses and the infrastructure that supports them. And hopefully, that -- that is something that will continue after that.

Dell Gines 40:47

The secondary is I think that it's forced a lot of businesses to look internally and look at how their infrastructure is developed. Like, you know, a lot of people weren't getting couldn't get a PPP loan because they couldn't pull their stuff together. They didn't have the infrastructure in place -- Black and Brown businesses, other businesses as well. So a lot of people couldn't -- the word Todd doesn't like -- pivot, because they didn't -- they weren't tech-enabled, or have a tech, basic tech. I'm not, I'm not talking about being a coder or producing a new tech firm; I'm talking about, I'm talking about simply learning how to use Uber Eats as a restaurant, you know, like things like this. Like, and I think that's put a shock to the system of the nation in a lot of entrepreneurs to start orienting themselves to the entrepreneurship of the future. The question is, are we as the folks that support that field, are we, are we doing the things necessary to make sure that they have a smooth runway into this new orientation? Or are we going to allow kind of this gravity to kind of pull back or put a lot of roadblocks in front of it, like often happens, when a recovery happens, and no, you know, everybody says, "OK, let's just get back to business as usual."

Jim Collison 42:00

During the preshow, you and I talked a little bit about infrastructure and the necessity of it, and of course, we have seen the, the infrastructure of -- the internet infrastructure be stress-tested during this time. How important is it -- there's been a lot of activism, and I think there's been some, some fairly positive activism by the White community to, to, you know, to see some of these things move forward. How important would it be for that community to focus on putting pressure, downward pressure, on some of our infrastructure organizations to behind the scenes improve the infrastructure? Stuff we don't typically think of, but maybe provide better internet, so to speak, in some of these communities?

Dell Gines 42:37

Yeah, and that's fundamental. So like, 75% of all the work I did, the first 5 years I was at the Fed was in rural communities. And so, you know, when you look at the development and the infrastructure of broadband, and the ability to have that, it's of paramount importance, both and urban and rural. Like, but I want to make a point. So like, I'm trying to lead, you know, hopefully get a new initiative internal to the bank, focusing on tech and innovation to create racial wealth equity. We've been having these conversations. But I -- the argument I made that is the digital divide is not just a consumption issue. So the ability to access effective broadband and technology, it's also a production issue. It's who's producing the firm's that are creating the new technology or the supply chain of that technology.

Dell Gines 43:24

So when you don't have the basic infrastructure of technology, broadband and infrastructure in place, it's very hard for any community, urban or rural, to develop, one, do general economic development in the first place. But, two, begin to produce the kind of firms that are that are going to be strong moving forward, whether it's a tech firm, specifically, or a tech-enabled firm, it's just going to be hard to build them. And as a result, you're going to see those communities that don't have that access begin to continually lag.

Dell Gines 43:56

So I was at a Brookings thought-leader event a couple weeks ago, just prior to COVID out in D.C. And they were pointing out the fact that when you look at the dispersion of innovation that's really consolidated into like, 4 areas of the nation, and like these major areas, like you may suspect high-density population areas, high technology, high levels of innovation, and the rest of the, the rest of the nation was lagging behind in terms of economic productivity. So they, their whole big thing and what we were talking about was, How do you create more innovation hubs across the region, across the nation, so that we can have more balanced economic growth?

Dell Gines 44:30

Well, take the same concept and apply it to, let's say, Nebraska, where you have some, some rural communities that have really strong broadband, but those that don't, you're going to continue to lose your youth, you're going to continue to have challenges of development. You're going to continue to struggle to figure out ways that you can organize your economy so that you can continue to grow and hopefully retain and attract new people. The same as for your urban area. To me, and this is just my, again, my personal opinion. If I was going to centralize one aspect that the government was going to tackle and say this is going to be centralized, it will be universal broadband for everybody, as a, as a state right.

Dell Gines 45:10

You know, and I don't, and I don't necessarily like to use the term "right," I think we use that to arbitrarily. But as a state mandate, as a long-run guide to having a healthy Nebraska or whatever state that you're in, would be universal access to a minimum level of broadband so every student and every adult could be on the information highway. And if we do this, then we can expect a corresponding return and economic productivity on the long run. Because you can't leave people out of the digital age and expect your economy to remain strong and equal.

Todd Johnson 45:42

Yep. A whole bunch of our Cares money, as we'd also talked about, was for broadband development. And we've been talking about it for years in Nebraska, but I was on with one of the leaders at UNL [University of Nebraska-Lincoln] saying, Well, it's, you know, everybody's going to go home and Zoom the rest of their education, or -- and it's like, No, they're not because their only access was the Starbucks, and it's closed. And, you know, it's maybe a shame on me for assuming that, living in a highly intensive broadband, you know, digital environment, but doesn't exist out there.

Todd Johnson 46:14

We've been -- the first EAS program, we were interviewing and talking about broadband. I think, as we see a very natural departure from heavily vertical urban communities, which have proven to be unsafe in a COVID environment, you know, rural America's licking its chops. But to your point, they've got to get the digital infrastructure, or they can't compete with the population. And it's almost like water and electricity anymore, right? I mean, it's, it's got to be at that level.

Jim Collison 46:50

We'll, we'll do one more question and, and I'll throw it -- Dell, I'll start with you on this one. So Jennifer asks, What innovations -- and we talked about infrastructure, so we'll leave that part out -- but what other innovations and technology have you seen that best really support these, these ecosystems?

Dell Gines 47:04

Well, I think now, so I would say there's general and specific technology. Like we've seen a few emergent technologies to actually support what we call formal ecosystem building. Dave Upanraj, and I can't remember the name of his his application, developed a really cool app that basically allows an entrepreneur to, or, or a institution like a university, to stand up, you know, their application, and it identifies all the resources within, within that given ecosystem for this entr -- for the entrepreneur. You know, I would not say it's an emergent technology, but it's a strong utilization of technology is U.S. SourceLink. And I know we're trying to get a version of that here in Nebraska, but there are a ton of communities across the nation now, and it's basically a centralized portal database that houses, you know, the resources for entrepreneurs, but then also puts a navigator to help support, you know, an individual on the ground, to help do the human elements of kind of connecting the dots of that.

Dell Gines 48:02

And then you have -- those are kind of more specific things. I think there's a lot more that we could do as the field grows, to kind of assess it and say, OK, if we're trying to build kind of these robust, network-connected, you know, relationships across these different platforms and culturally specific-relevant or geographic-relevant, what can we design? I think we're gonna continue to see more of that, that coming out.

Dell Gines 48:25

But then your general, I mean, just the stuff we're using now, like the the acceleration of the use of, of sites like StreamYard, which, which we're on now; of Zoom; of all these things that, that are allowing people, one, both the technological platform, but, two, the comfortability with connecting, you know, virtually and digitally on a repeated fashion, like, are going to be huge for ecosystem building, because you're dealing with a broad range of stakeholders across local geography, state geography, and being able to bring them together. So I think we have the technology for the basic and the foundation of it. There's a lot of technology that we still continue to need to build, like any field, to get it done.

Jim Collison 49:09

I think this interview is a great example of how that if the infrastructure's not in place, just imagine if we had had really bad broadband for you, and your picture was, was pixelated, exactly and, and distracting and, or we couldn't hear you or we could only hear half of what you were saying or just the equipment that you have. You have a really good microphone. We can hear you clearly. You can hear us. There's no distractions. The light is good. I mean, all those things are kind of a great example of an ecosystem that we -- that has been put together to make this work.

Jim Collison 49:40

We have viewers from around the world viewing this on their broadband connections as well and are able to get -- they're not seeing it any, or I mean, they're not seeing the technology anymore. They're just getting the information. And I think that's just a perfect example of when the ecosystem, when the infrastructure starts to break down that way. We're hampered. Justin was saying in the chat room, you know, in the early days -- and my very first day of coming home, my -- I got locked out and I couldn't get my, like my password wasn't working and I couldn't get on anything. And like I spent 6 hours between here and had to go in and get it fixed. Lost productivity, right, on basic services as like getting signed in. And so I think this is a great example of had we not -- had an infrastructure not been in place, we couldn't do this. Ten years ago, we couldn't have done this; we can do it today. So Todd, anything else, anything final you want to add?

Todd Johnson 50:32

Plugging their computer into the thing at the payphone in the airport. Remember?

Jim Collison 50:39

Oh, yeah.

Todd Johnson 50:39

Yeah, I sure can! Dell's probably too young to remember that, but Jim and I do. No, I, I'd like to thank Dell for your, obviously, your expertise and your time, your friendship, and your mission and passion around this. I -- let's almost do this publicly, but let's, let's commit to creating some best practices in Nebraska that can be showcase. I agree I hear about Ord; there are neat things going in Broken Bow. You know, there are pockets of rural, but, but let's see if we can't get a fragile community, you know, stood up. And you've rekindled my energy around that. And --

Dell Gines 51:21

You know, Todd, I for, I forgot to say that, you know, we got a lot of stuff coming out. But the most, the one I think may be most interesting, especially to your American coaches, is we got a guide coming out called "The Guide to the Recovery for Small-Business Owners of Color." Hopefully we can get that out. It's in the editor -- editing process now. And it puts a broad range of potential solutions to support small-business owners of color. And then they can go and look at a lot of our other stuff that we have on ecosystem building across various communities, urban, rural, whatever. They could just go to Yeah, Go to the Community section, and you'll be good.

Todd Johnson 52:00

Awesome! Dell, thank you! Jim, thank you! Amanda Carrion has her meetup for coaches tomorrow on Zoom -- for those coaches that might not be signed up -- and the, the BP10 movement is alive and well, and more important than ever. Dell, thanks for making it real and, and your expertise in your spheres of influence. And I'll thank you in person here hopefully soon. Not sure when that'll be, but I'm sure we'll Zoom here shortly.

Jim Collison 52:38

Dell, if anybody wants to find you in the public space on the internet, so to speak, where would they find you out? Or what's the best place to track you down?

Dell Gines 52:44

Yeah, so it's just dellgines on Twitter, although somebody did catfish me. So if you -- see a guy that looks like me that works for an oil company, that's not me. And then on, then on Twitter, it's @iamdellgines. Because if you go to dellgines, somebody stole my name a while back, and they sell like North Korean candy under my domain name. So it's @iamdellgines on Twitter, dellgines, not the oil salesman, on LinkedIn. The real dellgines, you'll see it's the K.C. Fed.

Jim Collison 53:15


Dell Gines 53:16


Jim Collison 53:17

That's right. Well, with that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have available, really, if you want to check them out -- and this page probably isn't used enough -- but head out to, and all the resources are there, including the 10 talent themes we did a couple years ago. As we dive into those and these themes, we've actually been redoing Season 2 for Builder Talent Tuesday and have been changing those as we go. So if you have not subscribed to the podcast channel, you probably want to do that now. Head out to any podcast app and search "Gallup Webcasts" and you'll see all the podcasts that are available from Gallup there. A couple reminders: If you want to join us live -- and why wouldn't you? -- a great conversation today you could have had an influence over, join us on our Eventbrite page. Go to Sign up and follow and follow us there; you'll get a notification whenever we go live. If you are -- if you have any questions and you're listening to the recorded version -- and Todd, tens of thousands, maybe even 100,000, will listen to this interview -- and you have an email, or you have a question, send us an email: And then of course, join us on our Facebook group. That's just That is the special BP10 group that is out there. We'd love to have you involved in that as well. If you enjoyed this today, if you found it helpful, share it. The link you can grab the YouTube video for it now. Share that with others. We'd like to have you do that as well. Thanks for coming out today. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

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