August is #NationalBlackBusinessMonth, created in 2004 by historian John William Templeton and engineer Frederick E. Jordan Sr. to bring attention to the needs of more than two million Black-owned businesses operating across America. Did you know Black business owners account for about 10 percent of U.S. businesses and about 30 percent of all minority-owned businesses? Black businesses are essential to the people and communities they serve and operate in. Project Pneuma compiled a list of ways everyday consumers and funders can support Black-owned businesses during the month of August and beyond.
- Visibility: For most businesses, visibility is important! Having and supporting Black-owned businesses only happens when we know about them. The best way to support them is to sponsor these businesses and organizations but also to make it a point to feature them, too. That could mean sharing social media posts, receiving news press, or having them on a podcast or blog. Getting the opportunity to get more eyeballs on your business is huge.
- Provide Equal Access to Funding: Historically, there has been a concerted effort to ensure Black-owned businesses remain at the bottom. As we move forward in history, supporting a Black-owned business has more to do with mindset, which impacts practical actions. On the practical side, consumers should look more at the product versus the owner or ethnicity of the product. Lenders and investors should provide equal access to funding and networks and get rid of the notion that a product won’t work because of its owner. If a company has an increase in sales year after year without funding, imagine its acceleration with financial backing.
- Share a Seat at the Table: Be open to inviting Black-owned business owners to your networking events and group meetings. This simple gesture is a great way to help share business resources with new Black-owned business owners helping them get deep-rooted in other business social circles and expand their customer reach. Sharing these resources helps bring an alternative thought process into your network and club as well. It is always good for other communities to see that they share the same hurdles or successes with other communities’ leaders and business owners.
- Write and Share a Review: Support your favourite Black-owned businesses by leaving an online review on sites like Google, Yelp, and more. Share your review on social outlets as well. By expressing your support through a review, your favourite businesses can rise in rankings for localized searches for services and products.
- Be Intentional: Small businesses and entrepreneurs have been longtime economic drivers and wealth builders in our society. Supporting Black-owned businesses throughout the year can help stabilize a community and create more opportunities for meaningful savings, property ownership, credit building, and generational wealth. It is important to be intentional about providing support beyond the holidays and throughout the year. Support can come in the form of making a purchase, referring others, engaging on social media with tags, shares, and comments, and subscribing to the company’s email list.
P.S. Project Pneuma is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.