Joshua I. Smith

Most Influential Person

American businessman

Why Is Joshua I. Smith Influential?

According to Wikipedia, Joshua Isaac Smith is an American businessman and former chairperson of the Commission on Minority Business Development. Biography Joshua Isaac Smith was born on April 8, 1941 in Garrard County, Kentucky. Growing up in Loveland, Ohio, he graduated from Loveland High School in 1959. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio in 1963. He worked as a high school biology teacher in Washington D.C. for a short time, and taught biology and chemistry at the University of Akron, where he also studied law. In 1969, he became a manager at the New York division of Plenum Publishing Corporation. He served as an executive director of American Society for Information Science from 1973 to 1977. Smith attended management courses at the University of Delaware and Central Michigan University. He founded the computer firm Maxima Corp in 1978, following the breakup of his first marriage. By 1993 the company had revenues over and had been ranked by Black Enterprise magazine at number 33 in its list of minority businesses. In 1996 the company had expanded to operate in 14 US states, employing 800 members of staff. Smith serves as a trustee on a number of boards, and has been a strong advocate for black entrepreneurship. According to Jet magazine, Smith became the "leading spokesman for Black businessmen under the Reagan and Bush [George H] administrations". In 1989, he was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to be the chair of the Commission on Minority Business Development. Smith's recommendations for improving the lot of small businesses from minority groups were largely ignored by the President. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in 1998, largely the result of expensive litigation between the company and Smith's son. Smith Sr. had sacked his son as vice president in 1993.

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