In 2004, Frederick E. Jordan motivated by his own experiences when starting his company, partnered with John William Templeton to turn August into National Black Business Month. The goal? To help highlight Black entrepreneurs and encourage people to spend their dollars on services and products within the black community.
In 2020, that goal is needed more than ever. While COVID is proving to adversely affect the Black/Latinx populations at higher rates, the pandemic has also forced many black business owners to shut down. Current research suggests that of the 1 million black-owned businesses within America, 41% of them have closed down their businesses for good due to the pandemic.
Yet, COVID 19’s disproportionate effects on the black community have only exasperated and shed light on a chronic condition that never was properly handled or treated in the first place – systemic and institutional racism. The death of George Floyd and others named and unnamed, have increased awareness of the realities black people face not only in the hands of the police or COVID but the often and sometimes seemingly insurmountable challenges navigating through America — daily.
Whether as a black college student blocked from career positions by Corporate America and failing diversity and inclusion programs, the black entrepreneur prevented from scaling their business by banks blocking access to equitable loans, or the young black family blocked from living in certain areas by realtors, lenders, and sellers. Block. block. block. Yet, America thought one of the solutions around these issues should be a blank black block on their social media threads.
We are past the stage of awareness or at least we should be. Building stronger black communities requires moving our protest past performances. Realizing that we all win when black communities are built to be sustainable and contribute to American exceptionalism. This means black businesses need our support more than ever and the case to support black businesses should be a no-brainer.
Everyone benefits when spending and shopping at a black-owned business.
It is a no-brainer, the longer a dollar can circulate and multiply within a black community the lower the poverty rates and the higher the median income becomes. This usually means property values increases, government tax base increases, and thus neighboring schools are funded with better resources.
Furthermore, new black businesses creates opportunities for professional service providers such as lawyers, accountants, IT, and more. Black businesses participate and stimulate the economy. It’s a win-win. And when a black business enters its growth stage, creating new jobs and then scale at such a rate to provide high wage roles and career pathways all this culminates to growing the middle class. And a growing black middle class increases their market participation well above the trillion dollar purchasing power range and with a wave of equity crowdfunding, more likely to become investors. The circle of life and money.
So why don’t we support black business development as a way of life? Some will argue they do not know how but here are three solutions to consider alongside social media awareness too:
1. Review what you spend
From your home to office, there are numerous black businesses that can provide quality service for your everyday needs. Accountant to zookeeper, black professionals and business owners are in a wide range of various industries. Check local black business chambers and or black professional associations for recommendations.
2. Advocate for policies that strengthen black businesses
This can be legislation that holds national and community banks accountable for practicing fair and equitable lending with black businesses. Increased funding to programs that aide black business owners catch up to the business standards of their peers. Remember many black business owners are first in their family to own a business and as a community, many were prevented from fairly practicing in the American market as recently as the 1960s. There is a learning curve that needs to be adjusted.
3. Spend, mentor and sponsor black business owners
Just spending money is akin to feeding a man fish. Providing mentorship around a skill, business practice or industry is teaching them how to fish forever. When opportunities arise to do joint ventures or work on large scale projects, collaborate and recommend black businesses. This cements stronger peer-to-peer relationship and besides, with so many private and public set aides for minority businesses, teaming together creates win-win solutions.
[Bonus] Take part or refer a business to participate in the Black Professionals Network’s 2020 Black Owned Business Challenge (#BPNBOB). We are providing one (1) black business owner $2250 in value towards their business that includes marketing and brand guideline, business consultation and $250 grant towards social media advertising.
How do they enter?
1. Visit directory.mybpn.org
2. Add your business or professional service to the directory
3. Secure ten (10) loyal customers to write a review of your business on the listing
4. [BONUS] Post your business on social media, tag @mybpnetwork and use the hashtag #BPNBOB. Posts with the most likes will get additional points added to their final score.
No purchase necessary to enter. We’ll select a winner on August 21st.
P.S. Are you a current BPN Member? Complete this form to be our featured business of the week.
Black Business Lending: Access to Capital & Tax Incentives
(Thursday, August 20, 2-3pm CT), featuring Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, US Small Business Administration District Director Bo Steiner, Accion Chicago CEO Brad McConnell, and more.