Did you know that August is Black Business Month? Neither did we until last week, when we co-hosted a diversity webinar with Nashville-based marketing expert and influencer Jasmine Sweet, who mentioned it as a wonderful opportunity to add a layer of diversity to our lives. “Black Business Month was designated to highlight and feature respective businesses and entrepreneurs during a specified time to enable a targeted effort to support Black businesses,” Jasmine says of Black Business Month.
Black Business Month was created in 2004 by historian John William Templeton, who created the California African American Freedom Trail, and Frederick E. Jordan, Sr., a civil engineer. The purpose, they stated, was to “drive the policy agenda affecting the 2.6 million African-American businesses.” Jasmine further explains, “Over the years, the Black community has contended with an array of constraints and limitations as businesses and entrepreneurs. In 2020, we are facing racial plight and economic uncertainty amid a global pandemic. This targeted business support approach empowers individuals and thereof, allows the Black Community a chance to thrive in a variety of ways and across industries: Healthcare, tech, marketing, fashion, and more. When you support a Black business, you support a Black family, the Black community, and foster economic stimulation overall.”
The below infographic, which displays findings from a survey conducted last month by the National Black Chamber of Commerce and deal site, Groupon, shows both the challenges Black entrepreneurs face as well as the positive impact that can be made with increased awareness and intentionality in supporting Black businesses. “The understanding and knowledge of different cultures that you attain when you support Black-owned businesses and minority-owned businesses is the most valuable part of diversifying your support,” Jasmine adds.
While in the past we have not specifically celebrated Black Business Month at StyleBlueprint, today we are making this an actionable step and acknowledging this awareness month and the importance it brings. “You are economically stimulating a business, but you are also acknowledging a community that deserves an equal chance and fundamentally, propelling conversations thereof,” Jasmine shares. “It’s a good ecosystem to be a part of for all involved!”
In that spirit, here are three actionable ways to support Black-owned businesses, not just in August, but all year long.
There’s an App for That
Next time you order out, peruse the local menus on the EatOkra app, a free directory of Black-owned restaurants in major U.S. cities such as Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas, Miami, Nashville and more. Neatly organized into categories like “Breakfast & Brunch,” “Caribbean Cuisine,” and “Vegan/Vegetarian Friendly,” EatOkra provides user ratings, contact information, directions, hours, and reviews. Download the app and search for your city.
Official Black Wall Street
Easily locate Black-owned businesses near you with the Official Black Wall Street app. In addition to offering an extensive listing of Black-owned businesses, you can also be notified when there are special deals and offers at your favorite businesses. Each listing page includes the business name, address, phone number and website, as well as reviews and photos when available. You can also submit a business and check-in at participating businesses.
RankTribe is another easy-to-navigate smartphone app that offers not only a Black-owned business directory but a calendar of events, interesting articles and deals. Select a category (services, shopping, food/dining, Black woman-owned, etc.), and then set filters if you so desire (location, rating, etc.). You’ll be able to curate a selection of business options, each listing including contact information, ratings, directions, a website link and any available media options, like videos and photos.
Check Out Your City’s Black Chamber of Commerce
Many cities have a Black Chamber of Commerce to which local Black-owned businesses belong. For example, in Nashville, where StyleBlueprint is headquartered, the Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce has a handy member directory, and it also connects Black-owned businesses with local business partners to help enhance their growth potential. To find your local Black Chamber, search “[YOUR CITY] Black Chamber of Commerce.” From there, depending on whether your local chamber makes its directory public or not, you can search for Black-owned businesses in a variety of categories like healthcare, finance, business services, retail, restaurants and many more.
Explore the World of Hashtags
Hashtags make honing in on a particular topic on social media platforms incredibly easy, which means discovering new-to-you Black-owned businesses is fairly simple, too. A quick search on Instagram shows a bounty of returns when you search #shopblack; the search field also auto-populates additional hashtag options to explore as well, such as #shopblackowned, #shopblackbusiness, etc. Here are a few hashtags that will get you started on your journey to finding your new favorite store, restaurant, brand or business.
To learn more about the history of Black Business Month, check out BlackBusinessMonth.com.
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