August is National Black Business Month, a time to celebrate black-owned businesses throughout the country. This celebration is a time to support black-owned business and organizations to promote economic freedom and entrepreneurship within the black community.
According to the latest U.S. Census (2012), black-owned business ownership is on the rise. The number of black or African American-owned firms grew 34.5 percent between 2007 and 2012 — from 1.9 million to 2.6 million in 2012. However, the number of black-owned businesses accounts for 9.4% of all companies and is still below the 13.1 percent black or African-America share of the adult U.S. population. In fact, of the 27.6 million businesses reported in the census, only 2.6 million of them are black-owned.
Black-American women contributed to an increase of 66.9% to 1.5 million black/female-owned businesses over these same five years, accounting for 58.9% of black-owned businesses in the U.S. This trend shows significant growth for women-owned businesses in the U.S. and is a reason to celebrate as the gap between women-owned and diverse gender-owned and men-owned businesses decreases.
However, black entrepreneurs face difficulties compared to white entrepreneurs when it comes to obtaining financing and locating resources such as real estate, equipment, and business guidance. Many black entrepreneurs must find funding through private donors in their communities or through black-owned business organizations to open their doors.
What can you do to support black-owned businesses?
Shop local black-owned businesses- Deter from large corporate-owned retailers and seek out black-owned businesses in your area. Use smartphone apps such as EatOkra to locate black-owned restaurants or Swivel to locate black-owned hair salons.
Use black-owned business directories- Choose to intentionally support black-owned businesses listed in directories such as WeBuyBlack or NextDoor, or contact your local business organization to seek out black-owned businesses in your area.
Partner with organizations that fund black entrepreneurs and startups- Organizations need your support to continue to fund the startup of black-owned businesses. Whether you offer support financially or through your expertise, investigate organizations in your area and involve yourself in the black-owned business ecosystem.
“The greatest equalizer of wealth disparity is business ownership. On average, minority business owners have a median net worth 12 times higher than those who do not own businesses.”—Entrepreneurs Access Network, EY.
This month and every month, choose to support black-owned businesses and to help our U.S. economy grow. Without investing in black-owned and all small businesses, the potential to employ others and create wealth hinders. When people have employment, they contribute to the overall economy through their spending, thus strengthening the resiliency of all U.S. businesses.
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