August is National Black Business Month. As Black people in the United States, there is no question of the financial discrimination that has been our experience. From enslavement to devaluation through the racial wage gap entrepreneurship has been the opportunity to remove the restriction of someone else determining our value.
Small-business ownership is a commitment to the community. It is indeed a partnership that provides an opportunity for customers and business owners to see a need or want that one can provide and one can fulfill. The partnership is a commitment that offers employment within a community that offers positive impact. There are more than 2 million Black-owned businesses in the United States. In 2012, Black-owned businesses generated $150.2 billion in gross revenues according to the US Minority Business Development Agency. While $150 billion is a large number, it is not 1% of the more than $2 trillion in gross reported revenue nationally.
In 2019, about 14% of the national population identify as Black either alone or as a part of a multiracial or ethnic background, approximately 46.8 million people.
As a small-business owner, I appreciate the privilege and the responsibility that comes along with the role. As a business owner, I work to build a team of professionals that are committed to excellence. We provide a service that I believe will enhance lives for generations. The greatest asset of any business is the people who work in the business. We have an opportunity to employ others who look like us. This is exceptional opportunity. Of the 2 million Black-owned companies, only 124,000 are defined as “employer firms,” which means that they have employees in addition to the owner. The opportunity to provide employment is a privilege that has mutual benefits for owner and employee.
As we most recently reflected on the Black Wall Street that was Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, we celebrated the affluence of the Black businesses that we sustained by the community there. I have been excited about the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. The movement brought expressed appreciation and value of our Black lives. Let’s celebrate that appreciation and value within our Black business community as well.
Building a business as a Black person has its challenges. The struggle is real for Black business owners and we as a Black community should support our businesses. Access to capital is real and financial discrimination is still alive and well. Therefore, resources to grow are not as available. We should continue, if not start, to make the decision to invest by patronizing our Black businesses whenever possible. We should make the decision to invest by providing support through feedback when things are not produced as well as we would like. We should make the decision to support through word-of-mouth marketing when things are done well. Let’s provide our Black businesses opportunities to grow with feedback. Give the business owner an opportunity to improve. More often than not, the feedback will be welcomed. The return on the investment is real for the community.
We are still better together!

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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