What is National Black Business Month?

Did you know that August is National Black Business Month? Launched 14 years ago, it highlights the importance of Black-owned businesses to the national economy. This year, as our nation grapples with the impact of racism, it’s especially important to recognize the immense impact that Black-owned businesses have had, and continue to have.

History of Innovation

The lives we lead today would be very different without the contributions made by Black entrepreneurs, inventors and business owners. For example, it might not have been possible to read this blog had Mark Dean not co-created the IBM personal computer. And Hollywood blockbusters would look a lot less exciting had it not been for Mark Hannah, the computer scientist who developed special effects technology used in movies and video games.

The Impact of Covid-19 on Black Enterprise

This same spirit of innovation is apparent today, thanks to Black business owners across the country. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Black or African-Americans own approximately 2.6 million companies, accounting for about 10 percent of U.S. businesses and about 30 percent of all minority-owned businesses.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt Black-owned small businesses an especially hard blow. The number of Black business owners fell from 1.1 million in February to 640,000 in April, a staggering 41 percent decline. This is because they’re more likely to be in sectors vulnerable to COVID-19-related disruptions, including leisure, hospitality, and retail. And so for this National Black Business Month, it is even more important to find ways to recognize and support Black-owned companies.

How to Be a Champion for Black-Owned Businesses 🏆

There are a multitude of options for supporting Black-owned businesses, and it doesn’t take much more than an internet search to begin.

Use sites that aggregate Black business

There are a number of aggregating websites and mobile apps that can help you find Black-owned businesses across the country. These include Support Black Owned, WeBuyBlack, Official Black Wall Street and I Am Black Business.

Follow the #hashtags

Social media platforms have replaced word-of-mouth referrals. Use these sites to spread the word to others who might be interested. Some of the popular hashtags for locating Black-owned businesses include #BuyBlack, #BlackFridays, #ShopBlackSaturdays, #BOB and #BlackOwnedBusiness.

Search for specialists

Along with general directories for Black-owned businesses, there are also numerous sites that focus on specialty services and products. Support a Black-owned bookstore at the African American Literature Book Club; find a culturally sensitive doctor with BlackDoctor.org, or locate local Black-owned restaurants at EatOkra. And to make your way through that motherlode of specialty businesses, use this list to find Black-owned companies on Etsy.

Go beyond the shopping cart

There are other ways to demonstrate your commitment to inclusion in addition to shopping at Black-owned businesses. Leave positive reviews of your experiences. Volunteer your services and skills to help a Black business owner who’s struggling due to the recession. Pass along useful information about local initiatives and networks for small businesses and see whether any of your contacts could be helpful.

Share your expertise

If you’re a seasoned business owner, consider sharing your knowledge with young, Black entrepreneurs. Alternatively, if you’re aware of business workshops or online resources, spread the word so that others can use them as well.

Of course, the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses doesn’t end on the last day of August. Supporting innovative, creative businesses is an ongoing effort, but it’s a worthy endeavor that often leads to healthier communities and a stronger economy.

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