For a very long time, Akindele Akinyemi has worked on a platform to fully engage local African business owners in public policy, economic development and global education. A veteran of both politics and education he strongly felt that Africans were left out of the discussion on national issues on immigration, public policy and local infrastructure. After collaborating with various African organizations Akinyemi felt that the only way to address these issues was to develop a strategic platform that would directly impact the African community economically and methodically.
When long time ally and supporter, O. Rerhi Onomake, reconnected with Akindele Akinyemi in December 2013 to assist with laying the foundation to empower local African business owners in Metro Detroit there was one issue. At the time, Akinyemi was living in Houston, Texas. However, he picked up some quality ideas from local African business owners and city policies in Houston to bring back to Metro Detroit to begin the process. Regardless of the direction the two was moving they both knew that Africans needed to invest in a city with economics, public policy and global education.
Onomake recruited Samba Johm and Kemo Barrow to begin the movement for a strong African business association that would serve the local African community in Metro Detroit there was discussion on where the business association would launch. Ecorse, River Rouge, Southfield and Inkster were on the short list to launch. All four agreed that this association would not be like any other because regardless of what city was picked the association would have to be the driving force to resurrect and reinforce African businesses in the area. Eventually, Inkster, Michigan was picked to launch the National African Business Association in March of 2014.
The first several months were intense as the team met every Sunday via conference call to plan, recruit, and execute the first programs of the National African Business Association. A formal introduction to the Inkster community took place in March 2014 to a group of stakeholders where NABA introduced the concept of the Inkster Renaissance, a long-term economic development plan for the City of Inkster. This was followed by the first business mixers, first financial literacy program at the Inkster Public Library and city appointments to the Inkster Downtown Development Authority and Inkster TIFA. At this time, the development of the Global Education Zone was introduced as well to the community to help restore educational institutions and programming in Inkster.
While most African organizations focus on the social impact and welfare of the community the National African Business Association focus on the opposite. The National African Business Association (NABA) use it's power to build business support and enhance urban development through trade and investment with Sub-Saharan Africa. NABA supports African-based businesses to help transform small urban communities into global communities with a focus on minority women based enterprises to enhance and develop their quality of life as well as presenting opportunities for both educational and economic transformation. Both Akinyemi and Onomake are huge proponents of partnerships and collaborations to help give the association much needed leverage.
Currently, there are two operational chapters in the National African Business Association, one in Michigan and the other in Washington D.C. We plan to officially launch our Atlanta, Chicago and Houston chapters in 2017.