“The Future Economy and Inclusive Competitiveness.” How Demographic Trends and Innovation Can Create Economic Prosperity for All Americans: A Conversation with Johnathan Holifield

In this episode, host David Ponraj speaks with Johnathan Holifield, published author and highly practiced economic development authority, about his book: The Future Economy and Inclusive Competitiveness. Johnathan, the Architect of Inclusive Competitiveness (™) is the former executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCU and senior vice president of Bitwise Industries,  and who’s now looking for his next big challenge where he can contribute to meaningful change.

The two share an animated and deeply philosophical discussion about what defines and impedes economic equity and economic mobility in America. Economic mobility hinges on ownership – ownership of assets and ownership of skills. A combination of the two is the key for individuals to achieve economic equity.

Johnathan shares that “the constitution protects us against racial discrimination, but doesn’t protect us with economic rights.” They discuss how the “race factor” has been a crutch when attempting to understand economic inequities, and that we haven’t been creative in addressing true solutions. Economic equity is hard to measure and is a difficult concept. That does not mean that it is not a critical concept worth measuring. 

A fascinating, deep dive conversation that chips away at the underpinnings of the wealth gap; and the previous and current superficial solutions that aren’t working and may, in fact, be widening that gap. Listen in to hear their in-depth insights, challenging questions and revolutionary solutions toward achieving real, measurable economic equity and inclusive competitiveness for all.

About Johnathan Holifield: Johnathan is an Innovation Economy leader, civil rights advocate and former NFL athlete. His  community roles, which evolved into economic development–especially with regard to  tech / innovation–are of special note, including NAACP and other civic entrepreneurial roles, which opened the door to the VP, New Economy Enterprise, Cincinnati USA Chamber of Commerce and Founding Executive. Director, CincyTech. This began his career in economic development.  

What makes his career unique is the hard-to-match background in traditional community development and groundbreaking leadership in tech / innovation-based economic development. 

It is the blending of his multidisciplinary background into an interdisciplinary career in tech / innovation economic development that is unparalleled. His interdisciplinary career fueled creation of the Inclusive Competitiveness Framework. 

Connect with Johnathan on LinkedIn: 

About Breaking Down Barriers
This podcast explores the opportunity to build wealth in local, regional, and national economies through entrepreneurship-led economic development. Episodes feature changemakers with innovative approaches to empowering people to start businesses that create wealth for their families and improve outcomes for their communities. Conversations highlight work being done in communities across the U.S. to break down barriers to entrepreneurial opportunity in underserved and underrepresented communities. In this series, we share authentic stories about the impact that entrepreneurship-led economic development has on the local economy and connect a global network of passionate economic developers. 

Special thanks to our renowned guests for joining the podcast! Click here to send us ideas. Subscribe in the footer to our newsletter to get updates and news delivered to your inbox! 

Breaking Down Barriers is a presentation of Economic Impact Catalyst and is hosted by David Ponraj with production and editing by Jacqui Dietrich and Lauren Bernard with voice talent by Antoine Long. Please rate, review, and subscribe to Breaking Down Barriers, available for free wherever you listen to your podcasts!

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