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William “Bill” Frey

For centuries, the United States of America has been heralded as a great "melting pot," using this moniker to symbolize the wide and varied range of races, nationalities and ethnicities that make up the American Diaspora. This present and accelerating reality creates both opportunities and challenges for minority businesses as our society progresses further into the millennium.

On one hand, the ongoing diversity explosion brings with it opportunities that come with a wider and more equitable customer base for B2C firms that sell to end-consumers; and for B2B&C firms that sell to corporate and government customers. End-user consumers will become increasingly diverse as minority populations continue to grow and corporate/government decision makers will become more diverse as a reflection of American society. Theoretically, this will help diverse firms face fewer instances of discriminatory treatment in the marketplace based simply on changing and more equitable shifts in demographics.

On the other hand, however, the concept of diversity explosion also creates challenges as minority groups begin to compete vigorously against each other. The programs/initiatives originally designed to assist diverse firms to fully access market opportunities will be spread over a larger and more varied group of businesses labeled as diverse, hence increasing competition while also decreasing opportunity and competitive edge. Adding to this challenge is the reality that although diverse firms will become a larger percentage of firms in the marketplace, those firms will have a harder time developing the size, scale and capital needed to effectively compete against large, well-established non-diverse firms. The question becomes: When minority firms are no longer in the minority, will programs to assist minority firms end their usefulness?

The diversity explosion will affect every segment of American culture, from education, to business, to housing, to health care and beyond. Will this explosive power positively carve out a new and better America where diverse populations reach their full potential in helping our country thrive? Or will this explosive power create greater havoc and destruction as competing diverse groups and the former non-minority groups do damage to each other while seeking to dominate the new social, political and business landscape to come?

The Institute's 2015 Executive Networking Conference will explore these and other issues related to the diversity explosion taking place in America. We invite you to attend the conference to add to the conversation and to introduce innovative thoughts that can help your business or organization harness the power of the diversity explosion and use it as a force for synergy, growth and progress.

The featured presenter for the 2015 ENC is renowned demographer and author of the book "Diversity Explosion," William Frey. During his presentation, Frey will address the question: Will Diversity Impact Business Opportunity? If so: Why? His thoughts on this question will help serve as a springboard for The Institute to implement programs and services to help diverse firms succeed in this new era, regardless of the impact the explosion has on today's business environment.

ENC 2015 takes place on April 9-10 at the Raleigh Marriott Civic Center. Please visit The Institute's conference web page for more information.