In a society where dialogue is heavily immersed in social justice and the continuous rallying efforts of #BlackLivesMatter, the black race is receiving an impressive, impactful platform to voice our concerns and fight for equality and representation. As Jesse Williams reminded the nation at June’s BET Awards, “Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.” And with this realness comes a multitude of real struggles, even beyond the realm of social justice and political activism. The Black population needs a stronger push for economic stability and unity.
Fortune stated that according to the 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express Open, “The number of businesses owned by African American women grew 322% since 1997, making black females the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S.” Despite such an impressive growth, these businesses are lacking support from the Black community itself. According to the New York Times, blacks spend less money in black-owned businesses than other racial and ethnic groups spend in businesses owned by members of their groups, including Hispanics and Asians. This is a saddening fact that puts the spotlight on the need for black economic empowerment. But how?
1. Put Black-owned businesses at the top of your list.
Instead of buying with from a well-known, popular brand, break this habit and go out of your way to seek a black-owned business. This will push you to discover new businesses that you may not have previously been aware of and challenge you to move beyond your familiar scope of service and business providers.
2. Don’t automatically expect or demand a discount.
We are ready and willing to throw our hard -earned money towards the latest iPhone but hold tight to our purses and wallets when it comes to Black-owned businesses.Why? We believe that products from well- known brands are priced appropriately and worth every penny. We need to have this same belief, trust and respect towards black products. That means giving the products a chance, and not expecting a discount just because your skin color is the same as the owner’s. Black business owners put in countless hours and work just like more popular companies and deserve equal respect and dignity.
3. Go the extra mile.
Many black businesses are not franchises or located all over the city or country. That means that you may have to add some extra time to your journey to get to one. Don’t let this deter you. Who knows what struggles the business owner faced to even get that standalone location. Their hard work, dedication to their craft and perseverance to get their product out there despite potentially countless setbacks far outweigh the extra mines out of your neighborhood you’ll have to trek to reach them. Support the hustle.
4. Know where to find them.
A popular excuse for not supporting black-owned businesses is not knowing where any are. Well, that excuse has just been invalidated thanks to the app WhereU Came From, or simply WhereU. Available on both Apple and Android devices, the app searches for the most trusted black-owned businesses and professionals in your community. It provides listings with updated, checked and verified contact numbers and offers a referral function so you can refer businesses to family and friends.
Here are examples of great black-owned businesses nationwide to get you started:
Famous for it’s upside-down caramel cupcakes, this bakery also offers an array of other goodies, such as cookies, donuts, banana pudding and whole cakes, to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Residing in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, this cafe offers mouthwatering, creative dishes for breakfast, lunch and brunch for affordable prices.
Located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, this company provides customized 3D printed name necklaces and earrings, in addition to custom sorority and fraternity chapter keychains and jewelry.
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This Nashville shop consistently provides customers with delicious, fresh cupcakes offered in a variety of flavors and was named the 2016 winner of Black Enterprise’s Small Business Award.
This Atlanta-based online retailer offers homemade gluten-free and nut-free gourmet specialty popcorn.
5. Spread the word!
If you are happy with the business’s products and services, share the news with others. Despite a business’s expensive, fancy marketing efforts, nothing beats old fashioned word of mouth. Recommend the business to your friends. Like and follow their Facebook page,give them a shout- out on Twitter and write an honest review on Yelp, for example.With the incredible power and influence of today’s social media, it’s surprising how far one good shared experience can go towards boosting a business. And if you don’t have a great experience, don’t let that deter you. Speak with management to express your concerns and provide constructive criticism to inspire improvement.
MADE by India McMiller