Remarks at the Presentation Ceremony for the Minority Enterprise Development Week Awards

 

October 4, 1988

 

Secretary Verity and Jim Abdnor, ladies and gentlemen: I know you were expecting the Rose Garden -- this isn't the Rose Garden. [Laughter] It's a little drier than the Rose Garden. But thank you very much, and welcome to the White House.

 

It's an honor to be a part of the Minority Enterprise Development Week and to recognize your contributions to this nation. This year's theme, ``Business to Business: Strategies for the Future,'' reminds us that the national as well as the global marketplace offer great growth potential to all businesses, but especially to minority enterprises.

 

You all know that I used to work in Hollywood. That's some place some people call the Dream Factory. Well, the days of the Hollywood dream factory are long over, but this nation is full of dream factories; they're your businesses. For you take your dreams and make something tangible out of them. You employ people to make the things you sell, and that fulfills their dreams; and you sell the things they make to others and fulfill their dreams.

 

Now, we know that there are Americans, unfortunate Americans, who've lost the capacity to dream. These souls may live in neighborhoods where they must fear to walk. Their children go to schools where the teachers fear the students, and when they walk down the hallways of their apartment buildings, they hear the crunching of crack vials beneath their feet. Well, like all Americans, they hope for a better life. They hope for a better life for their children, but somehow it seems that better life never comes. And then the hopes fade and the dreams die. And when that happens, disappointment turns into despair, and despair becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

And that's where you minority business leaders come in. For you prove to those who are less fortunate, who need examples of success if they're to hope for better, that, yes, there is hope and; yes, there's a chance; and, yes, this is a nation of bounties. You prove that hard work and determination overcome all obstacles and that despair is unnecessary. What is necessary is self-esteem and self-confidence. You can teach them the ability to see that the future is contained within the present, that work itself is its own reward, and that with work comes dignity and, eventually, the fulfillment of your dreams.

 

During Minority Enterprise Development Week, and throughout the year, we can all be deeply thankful for the economic freedom that enables all American business men and women to seek their vision of a better future for themselves, their children, and their country. So, thank you, America's minority business men and women. Thank you for what you've done for yourselves, what you've done for the economy, and what you've been doing and will keep doing for the Nation as a whole. Thank you, and may God bless you all. And now, Bill and Jim, I guess we have a few awards to present.

 

Note: The President spoke at 11:49 a.m. in Room 450 of the Old Executive Office Building. In his opening remarks, he referred to Secretary of Commerce C. William Verity and James Abdnor, Administrator of the Small Business Administration.