August is #NationalBlackBusinessMonth. Founded by Black entrepreneur Frederick E. Jordan Sr and historian John William Templeton, National Black Business month brings awareness to the strengths and struggles of Black founders in the United States.
Black-owned businesses with employees represent an estimated 2% of all employer businesses. Black, minority and historically underrepresented individuals who own businesses face a disproportionate number of structural obstacles in entrepreneurship, including gaining capital to start businesses, resources to grow their businesses and access to social capital. Economic development organizations can take steps to provide an active focus and dedicated resources to underrepresented businesses through economic equality programs. At Member Marketplace, we specialize in community e-commerce platforms. We work with minority chambers in several areas to support Black entrepreneurs, while service-area based economic development organizations can create and market “landing pages” (SEE AN EXAMPLE HERE) to support minority-and-Black-owned businesses.
Creating a local e-commerce space to showcase Black and minority owned businesses does two fundamental things for your community:
- First, creating a space for underrepresented founders brings visibility to these businesses. All businesses must recruit new customers to remain relevant. By actively bringing awareness to a marketplace, EDO’s can effectively and inclusively support communities of underrepresented entrepreneurs. Additionally, consumers can support social justice causes with ease. Ask us about how to increase awareness of Black-Owned businesses in your community!
- Second, as outlined in a previous blog post, digital literacy is a challenge for small businesses. EDO’s can create programs which train founders and entrepreneurs, arming them with the skills needed to remain technologically competitive. Additionally, bringing entrepreneurs together by giving access to both resources and providing a space, members can make connections and build essential social capital. Let us know if you’d like to chat about programs that can support Black founders!
To combat structural racism, economic development organizations must be responsive to the needs of Black founders and entrepreneurs through active dialogue and dedicated resources invested in the pursuit of equitable wealth access, not only during National Black Business Month, but year round. Building a digital marketplace platform showcasing Black-Owned businesses and entrepreneurs is one tool for economic developers to use in creating a more equitable business community.