White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett Talks Entrepreneurship

Whether he’s stopping in for ice cream cones with his girls, or popping into a local neighborhood bar in the Heartland for a pint, it’s evident that President Obama’s affinity for small businesses, their patrons and owners, helps shape how he approaches policy that affects businesses all over the country. It’s the mark of a president some have called the “Empathizer-in-Chief.”

“From the mom-and-pop storefront shops that anchor Main Street to the high-tech startups that keep America on the cutting edge, small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our nation’s promise,” he said in a statement Friday. “Through events such as Small Business Saturday, we keep our local economies strong and help maintain an American economy that can compete and win in the 21st century.”

To highlight small businesses and further champion the cause of the small business economy, the White House dispatched Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett to a pair of small businesses in Chicago on Small Business Saturday. After her visits, she talked to BlackEnterprise.com via phone and, for all of her level-headed, timely counsel to the leader of the free world, Ms. Jarrett had equally balanced advice for young, black entrepreneurs. She talks about the president values relating entrepreneurship, and what small business she’d have if she’d taken a different path.

BlackEnterprise.com: You went to two small businesses in Chicago today, what did you see that gives you hope for the small business economy in our country?

Valerie Jarrett: Well that’s a really good question. I visited two small businesses in the same community in which I grew up. One is a relatively new business and one has been here since I was a child. Little Black Pearl is a wonderful business because part of what the owner does is bring in young people and students and teaches them how to blow glass. So they’re creating and selling their artwork. There’s an opportunity for young musicians to come in and play music and for people in the community to stop by and listen to these young, talented people. It gives them the opportunity to rehearse in front of a crowd. There’s a small cafeteria and she brings in well-known artists who people in the neighborhood might not ordinarily get a chance to meet or to hear. It’s a gathering place in the community — it’s a real anchor in our neighborhood.

Read the full interview at BlackEnterprise.com

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