**FILE** More than 1.2 million African Americans were self-employed in February. (Courtesy of iStock)
**FILE** More than 1.2 million African Americans were self-employed in February. (Courtesy of iStock)

Dr. Dominique Aimee Jean, author, public speaker and president of the nonprofit Haute Healing Foundation, said she needed to jump-start her business after understanding that Black Americans have little to no safety net when disaster strikes.

“The only way to ensure thriving and not just surviving is ownership,” Jean insisted.

She’s not alone in her belief and now many African American-owned small businesses are thriving.

Statistics show that the number of Black-owned small businesses jumped 28% over pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter of 2021. It’s a trend that experts have said continues to move in a positive direction as perhaps the hardest hit group stunningly has rebounded.

One published study revealed that slightly more than 1.2 million African Americans were self-employed in February 2022, compared to slightly under 1.1 million in February 2020.

Additionally, another recent study found that Black owners have accounted for 26% of all websites created for new businesses since the pandemic, compared to 15% before.

“During the pandemic, Black-owned businesses initially took a hit. Not surprisingly, given how the pandemic disproportionately affected Black people in the United States, inequities in health care for African Americans became even more obvious in 2020 and 2021,” Jean explained.

“Simply put, Black people were more likely to get sick and had worse outcomes when they were infected with the virus. Many people were in survival mode rather than “business thriving mode,” she said.

“However, two years into the pandemic, I believe many people had an awakening. Not only as a result of the pandemic but after the collective grief we experienced after the deaths of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor, and many others.

“A sense of urgency has come about to make our communities stronger via a for us-by-us philosophy.”

Christopher Pappas, the founder of eLearning Industry Inc., called antiquated the current perceptions about Black entrepreneurship.

“Especially regarding the key entry barrier of startup funding,” Pappas stated.

“For decades, Black businesses faced obstacles, but the tide is turning,” he asserted.

“By minimizing the cost of beginning and marketing a business, technology facilitates access to information and maximizes the benefits of social networking. As a result, social media will grow exponentially, and it’s contagious and will pay off.”

Emma Gordon, the founder of US Salvage Yards, added that the pandemic and lockdown initially caused a steep drop in self-employment among African Americans who couldn’t access their businesses and eventually shuttered them.

“What we then saw and now tag as a comeback today is the result of the mitigation of the effects of COVID-19 and the relief of movement restriction,” Gordon noted.

“People have access to their business, and new ideas that COVID necessitated have begun to materialize. African Americans now see opportunity, and they are feasting.”

Government data compiled by the nonprofit USAFacts revealed that new business applications increased more in 2020 than over the past 15 years.

A good portion of those applications represents African American businesses.

“The increase in Black company owners honors Black culture while also benefiting communities,” said Mike Chappell, co-founder of FormsPal.

“The richness of African American culture itself inspires many Black entrepreneurs to launch enterprises. The proliferation of Black-owned apparel stores, hair care, beauty products, and children’s toys are a few examples,” Chappell stated.

“Additionally, some Black-owned enterprises are established to provide access to services that are particular to the community’s requirements. Business endeavors of this nature boost communities by instilling a sense of belonging in the people there.”

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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