The Champion Awards are presented to individuals who promote small business, volunteer time and services to small business interest groups, advocate the cause of small business through legislation, or use their professional expertise to assist small business owners.
Katey Lenczowski, Assistant Vice President of Enterprise Bank of Nebraska nominated the couple last November. Itʼs the first time a Nebraska nominee has won the National award. For the past five years, Dr. Davis, Chief Executive of Davis Companies, has volunteered significant segments of time with local community groups and policy boards to get an up-close view of the causes for stunningly poor performance of minority business growth in the city.
While the national growth rate for black-owned firms was 133% between 1997 and 2007, our local rate was only 66%. The number of black firms with at least two employees climbed 17% across the country in that time span, while Omaha LOST 17% of its black firms in that category. The lost opportunity represents about $42 million in commerce, and roughly 490 new jobs.
As a family we are committed, in no uncertain terms, to using our time and money to reverse that alarming trend. This award acknowledges the tireless efforts and worthy accomplishments of our past.
Going forward, the singular focus of Davis Companies -- and the Davis family -- is building businesses. We have helped develop a 2020 vision to re-tool Omaha's black business, investment, and professional eco-system. That strategy includes a groundbreaking entrepreneurial education component, investment and incubation of local small business projects, and partnerships with local and national firms.
Under the banner of our newest company; Davis Business Ventures, this new era of development will be led by the next generation of Davis' working closely with an emerging pool of young business leaders and thinkers. We are entrusting them with the task of turning this vision into a new reality in our city.
We will continue putting our core values into action: "ask the most of ourselves before we ask of others" and "an equity dollar is as important as a charitable ten dollar gift." We are grateful for this recognition, and excited about the possibilities for our community -- and the city -- this national spotlight provides.
Please join the Davis family, Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle, and Congressional Representative Lee Terry for a press conference Friday, April 6th, 2012 at 11:00 AM. The event is at 1313 Cuming Street, Suite 200.