Black Business Month is celebrated in August — it’s a time to acknowledge and appreciate black-owned businesses across the nation and all that they represent in the country’s continual striving for diversity and equality. Denise Moore, CEO of the Black Business Alliance in Peoria, Illinois, has this to say about the importance of Black Business month: “Black Business Month is exciting because it gives us an opportunity to focus on a community that is far too often underrepresented when it comes to access to capital and opportunities to build wealth.”
When we celebrate the contribution of black business owners and entrepreneurs, it pays homage to them and their legacies, especially since celebrating this month recognizes the importance of black-owned businesses when it comes to contributing to the nation’s economy as well. Approximately 10% of all American businesses are black-owned, and if we look at what statistics say about minority-owned businesses, about 30% of these would belong to black business owners. The primary sectors in which black-owned businesses operate include health care, social work, repair and maintenance, beauty salons, restaurants, and more. Black businesses across the country are booming and on the rise, with Washington D.C. having the highest ratio of black-owned businesses, a whopping 28%. These business also have an important role to play towards supporting student and education by giving funds towards scholarship of African American Students, here is a list of numerous scholarship provided to Black students.
History of Black Business Month
The history of Black Business Month can be traced back to the year 2004, when engineering entrepreneur Frederick E. Jordan partnered with the president and executive editor of the scholarly publishing company eAccess Corp,’ John William Templeton, to start this annual event. The intention of the pair was to “drive the policy agenda affecting the 2.6 million African-American businesses,” in order to highlight and empower Black business owners all over, especially given the unique challenges faced by minority business owners. This stemmed from Jordan’s own personal experience of the struggle to gain financial backing and funding when he began his own firm in San Francisco in 1969.
Today, he is the successful owner of F. E. Jordan Associates Inc., a company that has international reach, but it also led him to realize that the odds are still not in favor of Black entrepreneurship. To push for equity in the business spaces and to celebrate those who are thriving despite the challenges, Black Business Month is a month-long celebration of entrepreneurs who beat the odds.
Since the late 1700s, both free and enslaved Black people began to open their own small businesses, from barbershops to tobacco shops and shoemaking. As emancipation grew, so did the establishment of Black-owned businesses, and this led to the period between 1900 — 1930 being labeled as the ‘golden age’ of Black-owned businesses. Segregation saw entire districts becoming Black-owned, such as Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In 1915, with the establishment of The National Negro Business League, there was widespread support of African-American entrepreneurship, with The National Business League spreading to over 34 states. By 2002, 1.2 million of the United States’ 23 million businesses were owned by Black people, bringing in a revenue of over $150 billion! How’s that for booming business?
Black Business Month timeline
The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company is established and quickly becomes one of the oldest and most prominent Black-owned insurance companies in the U.S.
Booker T. Washington founds The National Negro Business League (later renamed The National Business League), to support Black entrepreneurs as they start out.
In the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, affluent Black businesses mushroom and flourish, earning the nickname Black Wall Street.
Reginald Lewis is the first African-American to build a billion-dollar company — TLC International Holding.
Founded by Frederick E. Jordan and John William Templeton, Black Business Month becomes an annual celebration.
Black Business Month FAQs
What is the largest black-owned business in America?
RLJ Lodging Trust, one of the largest publicly owned Black businesses, reported total assets of $5,92 billion in June 2020.
What does “support black business” mean?
When you choose to support black-owned businesses, you’re supporting black pride, unity, and self-determination. While that may be intimidating to some, it would mean the world to many families and communities. Black entrepreneurship is a tool for survival in a world that does not want to see you win.
What percentage of businesses are black-owned?
Black people owned approximately 124,551 businesses, with about 28.5% (35,547) of these businesses in the health care and social assistance sector, the highest percentage of any minority group.
How to Observe Black Business Month
Show your support
Use Black directories on the internet to guide you to black-owned businesses for your daily needs or any car repair work or fine-tuning that needs doing. This can help you shop local when it comes to small businesses owned by Black people. You can also follow the hashtag trails on social media to follow Black business pages and help them gain a wider reach.
Read about black entrepreneurship
Support Black entrepreneurs by hearing what they have to say firsthand. There is a ton of literature out there that has been written and read by successful black entrepreneurs and businesspeople, so grab any one and get reading. To help you out, we bring you some of the more popular ones, including, "The Color of Money" by Mehrsa Baradaran, "The Little Black Book of Success" by Elaine Meryl Brown, "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie, and "Everyday Millionaires" by Chris Hogan.
Try 'Black Food Fridays'
Look no farther than #BlackFoodFridays on Instagram to be part of the super-cool movement started by Charleston, South Carolina's writer/activist/innovator — K. J. Kearney. The aim of the movement is simple; to direct peoples' attention to black-owned restaurants all over the country. The idea is now developing into a business, with apps like ‘EatOkra’ also doing the same.
5 Important Facts About Disparity In Black Businesses
A study shows that median wealth held by White to Black families is 10:1.
Historically, twice as many Black have been unemployed than White people.
Wage disparity affects generations
There is a greater likelihood that Black children will live in poverty as compared to White children.
Only 42% of Black families own their homes, as compared to 73% of White families.
School to prison trajectory
African-Americans are six times more likely to be incarcerated than their White counterparts.
Why Black Business Month is Important
It champions equity
Black Business Month ensures that Black-owned businesses get the recognition and patronage they so richly deserve, especially if any of them are struggling to stay afloat. To celebrate Black-owned businesses is to empower more people from the African-American communities to dream big and begin their own entrepreneurial journeys, and we love the empowerment that brings us one step closer to achieving equity.
It supports minorities
Since African-Americans belong to the category of minority communities, their businesses are more likely to be hard-hit as opposed to White-owned businesses, perhaps simply because systemic racism is still prevalent in the nation — whether latent or blatant. Supporting these businesses is a way of acknowledging and celebrating the struggle and encouraging Black-owned businesses to keep booming.
Inclusivity and diversity
If there are two terms that define our current generation's entire zeitgeist, they are inclusivity and diversity. The best part is that these will never go out of fashion, as we make leaps and strides into making sure that institutional racism and prejudice go out of style for good. Since Black-owned businesses are what bring in more diversity, our job is to support these to make sure that all minority communities can be inspired to enter the fray and contribute to the nation's economic and sociological well-being.
Black Business Month dates