How you can support black-owned businesses
There are various ways that you can help black-owned businesses to survive COVID and to show your support for the current Black Lives Matter movement sweeping the USA and the world. A primary way to help is to divert your spending towards Black-owned businesses. But this is by no means the only way to ensure social solidarity amongst US citizens, and there are many paths forward. Some of these mechanisms are outlined below.
Use Social Media
Social media remains one of the best ways to make a positive impact on Black business owners. After all, it’s free. Make your voice heard, follow leaders that you trust within this movement, and follow Black-owned businesses on Twitter and Facebook. Get your friends involved and cite some studies and statistics on the subject matter to generate awareness. Social media is probably one of the most powerful tools at your disposal to assist.
This is not merely a fad. Black-owned businesses have received an upsurge in sales amid the protests, and this has largely been attributed to social media awareness generation campaigns.
This is in spite of the fact that Black-owned businesses have been the hardest hit as a result of the COVID downturn.
The outcry among the public is turning to actual sales for Black business owners, and this is but one example of how Black people are being empowered due to a tangible movement that aims to assist a unique demographic group.
By simply understanding the obstacles that Black business owners face and the history of black people in America, you will be doing a lot to assist. It will help you to explain it to others and to see why this is an underprivileged group that needs support and attention at the current time. It always helps to stay informed and to know the figures.
For example, while corporations are saying they are going to address concerns, they tend to have a poor track record. And in a survey of Black economists carried out by the American Economic Association, only 14% agreed with the statement that “people of my race/ethnicity are respected within the field.” The more you know about any particular issue, the better you can respond to it and ultimately resolve it.
Without being made aware of such issues, the problems will not be addressed. As a consumer and a citizen, you have the financial and social power to help out disempowered groups, and this particular group is clearly disempowered.
Make Black Purchases
Try to shop with Black-owned businesses in your local area to give them some financial support amidst the disaster. It’s important to make a distinction here. You are not ‘anti-white’ – you are ‘pro-black’. There is a huge difference between attacking one group and empowering another.
In terms of racial discrimination, it is typically a tiny percentage of any one group that is causing all of the difficulties. So make purchases at Black stores, but don’t feel you need to ‘boycott’ white stores.
There is even a 30-day ‘Buy Black Challenge’ campaign that is getting started. This started on June 19th and will help you find Black stores and make a positive impact by highlighting the benefits of these stores and making a financial contribution. Each day, businesses in different industries are highlighted. The idea is to start a trend so that more and more people will buy Black, year-round.
Be Actively Involved
With the Black Lives Matter Movement sweeping the world, there are tonnes of petitions, movements, and organizations that you can join to better the lives of black people in the USA. You might even consider being a group leader, attending a peaceful protest/event, or setting up your own petition. Needless to say, you will be making a peaceful protest. Riots never solved anything, and they never will.
If you feel strongly about the matter, be intelligent with your words, your money, and your voice. Don’t just end up in jail or destroy someones else’s business because you are not in control of your emotions. In order to be actively involved, it definitely helps to understand what is going on and do your research (as mentioned in a previous point).
Donate Directly to Black Businesses
Many Black-owned businesses have been hit very hard with the recent COVID crisis and have also been victims of looting during the protests. You can make a direct financial contribution to help out. It does not have to be a huge sum of money, and every little helps. The alternative to this, as mentioned above, is to make purchases at Black-owned stores. Many initiatives are in place for you to find and fund local and national Black-owned businesses.
Premier Resources For Black Businesses
There are multiple programs that have been specifically designed to help Black business owners given the unequal challenges that they tend to face. Using these resources can help to level the playing field. The following is not an exhaustive list but contains the more prominent resources for Black-owned businesses.
National Association for the Self-Employed – This allows grants up to $4,000 for Black business owners. It is one of the foremost resources, providing training, networking, events, seminars, education, grants, and many other facilities. It can really help business owners to get started and also provides consultancy, life insurance, and medical emergency assistance. It is not only for Black business owners but for many other eligible groups.
Black Women Enterprises – Black Women Enterprises (‘BWE”) has its headquarters in New York City and offers numerous services to Black women in business. Its core mission mandate is to remove the barriers against economic success for Black women. Interestingly, they also say that they are open to all women, as they do not discriminate, though their primary focus is on Black female entrepreneurs. Membership with BWE is completely free.
Millennial Entrepreneurs Redefined – This is available for minority persons (including black people) aged between 18 – 35. Currently, live workshops are operational in 7 cities: Atlanta, Detroit, Washington D.C, Dallas, New Orleans, St. Louis, and Oakland. The aim is to assist minority millennial entrepreneurs to get up and running with coaching and training. The initiative is powered by the US Black Chambers Inc Community Development Corporation. It is partnered with the Black Business Empowerment program.
DreamSpring – This is not directly aimed at Black business owners. However, it does tend to empower minority groups. It is available to all types of business owners in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. This non-profit has been in operation for over 26 years and provides loans up to $2 Million.
Black Enterprise – This is not a funding or training organization. Instead, this is actually an online publication that serves the Black community by highlighting key trends in the industry and motivates Black entrepreneurs. Another popular online journal is the Minority Business Entrepreneur.
Black Founders – Black Founders is aimed at the empowerment of Black people in the technology sector. They have created a global network that allows Black people to share resources and connect. This is a very popular resource for Black entrepreneurs in the technology niche and has been featured in the Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, and MSNBC. They provide conferences, connections to funding, hackathons, and educational resources.
Black Business Association – This is only available to Black business owners in the state of California. It is the oldest minority orientated organization in the state. Its aim is to provide funding resources to this demographic as well as providing more opportunities on a social, political, and economic level. Founded in 1970, it is now over 50 years old, with its headquarters in Los Angeles. The Black Business Association (‘BBA’) is a non-profit organization.
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program – This program has been designed to protect minority business owners against discrimination when procuring Federal transportation contracts. All business owners who are at a social disadvantage can gain assistance if they are involved in this industry (primarily transportation and construction).
CATAPUALT – This is a joint effort from Capital One and the National Minority Supplier Development Council. It is essentially a 7-month long training program designed to empower and educate minority business owners. But it is orientated towards the resolution of complex problems or getting creative startups up and running. The National Minority Supplier Development Council (‘NMSDC’) is itself an avenue for Black business owners. It runs a non-profit consortium known as the Business Consortium Fund, which offers funding and consulting for minority business owners.