University of Houston Small Business Development Center
By Michelle Loredo
According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses are one of the driving forces in creating jobs and generate about 44 percent of the economy. Even with the rise in small business ownership, Black and other minority still face many hurdles to start their business ventures.
Supporting Black-owned businesses will help their communities, the overall economy and create better relations with different business and community sectors.
We have put together the top 13 ways to support Black-owned small businesses and organizations.
1. Buy from Black-Owned Business
One of the best ways to ensure that black businesses are open and operating is by buying from their stores. You can do this by buying from their online stores, online listings on retailers’ websites (Amazon) and brick-and-mortar businesses.
Here is a list of resources that can help you find Black businesses:
Black Owned Everything
Coalition to Back Black Businesses
2. Do Business with Black B2B and Suppliers
If you are working with vendors and suppliers, strive to include Black businesses in your working list of contacts. Small businesses usually work with people they already know but try to branch out and see what others have to offer.
Here are a few resources to help you find a Black-owned B2B vendor:
Official Black Wallstreet
3. Build a Relationship with Black Business Owners
Building relationships and bridging the gap between business owners is a sustainable way to help Black businesses flourish and continue to grow in their venture. You can start by reaching out and sharing their information online. For example, sharing their information, website and social media on your platforms and newsletters.
From then on, sharing is not enough. You have to put in the work by networking and making diversifying your relationships in your business sector.
4. Become Aware of Black Business Groups
Due to structural racism, Black business owners have to through more hurdles than their counterparts when starting and owning a business. For that reason, organizations have been created across the United States to help Black business owners.
Here a list of resources to help you connect with Black Businesses:
Black Business Association
National Minority Supplier Development Council
5. Reevaluate Your Hiring Process
Another effective way to help Black entrepreneurs is to reevaluate the way that businesses hire their staff. Having different perspectives in your team will only add to your small business. Strive to eliminate biases when hiring to get the best candidate to be part of your business.
6. Use Social Media as a Tool
Social media can be used in multiple ways to help and promote Black businesses! You can use social media to find Black-owned establishments. You can use the website Black Owned Everything to find Black businesses and buy their products. Use hashtags on social media to find and ask about their services. Here a few hashtags you can use:
7. Interact with Black Businesses Online (Reviews and Share to public)
Another way that social media can help is by interacting with Black businesses. You can help them get exposure by leaving reviews on their Google My Business, social media and other platforms where you can leave comments. If people see that a business has good reviews, they are more likely to buy from that company.
8. Diversifying Investments
Investing in Black businesses is an effective way to support the Black community. Supporting and giving financial help to Black businesses will help the overall economy and help create jobs in their communities.
9. Revaluate Your Target Customer Base
Your customer base and marketing campaign needs to be inclusive and reaching all consumers. Diversity marketing will help you reach the Black community and help you be more visible online to customers.
10. Give Equal Access to Funding Opportunities
The Black community has been historically disenfranchised and continues to struggle with structural racism. It negatively affects Black entrepreneurs when they are in the process of starting a business. They get denied funding opportunities due to biases from lenders. Giving African American entrepreneurs a chance and trusting their product success will only bring positive outcomes overall in job creation and the economy.
11. Introduce Black Business Owners with Business Connections
Let Black business owners know of networking opportunities that they are not aware exist. It will help them expand their opportunities in the marketplace and open doors to business opportunities.
12. Provide Mentorships and Opportunities
Mentorship is an important factor when it comes to business success. Having a mentor with experience, expertise and connections will make a small business owner's experience better. They will learn how to navigate different opportunities and continue to grow.
13. Be Intentional in Your Inclusivity Work
When working on being inclusive and helping Black entrepreneurs, it cannot just be temporary or done when it is trendy to help people of color; it needs to have longevity in your business plan.
Initiatives from the SBDC Network!
The SBDC Network is here to help you with all of your business ventures! We are in the process of launching the Small Business Community Navigators initiative. The Navigators initiative aims to help BIPOC and minority-owned small businesses in underserved communities gain access to small business resources and COVID-19 recovery support. This includes:
Access to Disaster Funding Programs
Access to Funding Opportunities
Help on Navigating Small Business Administration Loans
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