Watch this interview on The Voice of Africa TV
TVOA: Welcome to The Voice of Africa, it’s your host, Kadmiel Van Der Puije and today we have a very special guest, Delegate Darryl Barnes. He is the representative of the 25th legislative district in the Maryland House of Delegates and the President of the Bi-County Chamber of Commerce. Why did you get started in this field?
Delegate Barnes: Well, I think it’s important as a black man to understand the power of ownership and owning your own business– the flexibility that [owning your own business] has to be able to spend more time with your family and the opportunity to have greater input in your work. It was a no-brainer for me to say that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and own my own business and be in a position to help my fellow man, I think. When you start talking about equity and inclusion, I think it’s important that we as black Americans, Africans from the African diaspora, look at ownership and really start talking about how we leave that financial legacy for the youth.
TVOA: What has been your foremost goal for the position you occupy and how are you achieving it?
Delegate Barnes: Well as the chairman of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus here in Maryland, my goal is to promote and look out for small businesses and put them in a position to succeed. Whether that’s procurement opportunities, access to capital, partnerships, working more collaboratively with other businesses, that is what I define as putting them in position to succeed. We say that’s my number-one objective.
TVOA: Are there any support systems to aid African businesses and initiatives like LGS for Africans living in Maryland?
Delegate Barnes: I think there is all kinds of support. I think the problem is the lack of education and knowing where those resources are and I’m hoping that this Summit exposes some of those things; which then puts in perspective where those opportunities are, how one goes about receiving them, points of contacts. I think that’s what this is all about it. Figuring out “how do we bridge the gap and start having more of a conversation and dialogue on how we work together?”
TVOA: So what advice do you have for Africans to thrive in Maryland and find those resources apart from tuning into programs like LGS?
Delegate Barnes: I think it’s important that we look at organizations like mine, the Bi-County Business Roundtable, and figure out “how do we utilize synergy and bring commonality together?” and I think once we do that we start that from a networking standpoint. You’ll find that there are a lot of similarities in this world of business and how we start working more collaboratively together for the common goal and the common good. Listen at the end of the day being a business owner, it’s about taking care of your family: taking a decent vacation every now and then and to be able to give back to our communities and I think we all have that same ideology, the methodology may be a little bit different but the approach is the same right? We want to grow and expand and help all mankind and I think that’s what this is all about!
TVOA: Tell us your thoughts about the legacy global summit?
Delegate Barnes: What I’ve seen so far I’m enjoying. Whenever you have six continents and leaders from around the world, it’s a beautiful thing. We are all coming together to promote the common good of mankind and said that we can work together. Sometimes we just have to figure out how, but we can work together and I think we all are here to do our part. We are all here to mentor and coach other people; we’re here to uplift one another. So if that’s the mindset, the mission, and the objective we have, then it’s just a matter of accomplishing that goal.
TVOA: Thank you very much for coming on our platform and voicing your opinion.
Delegate Barnes: I appreciate it. Have a great day.