August is Black Business Month.
Created by historian John William Templeton and engineer Frederick E. Jordan Sr to celebrate the achievements, contributions, and resilience of Black entrepreneurs and business owners.
This month also presents a great opportunity to show meaningful support for Black-owned businesses, not just during the month of August, but throughout the entire year.
You can do this not just by partaking in “conscious consumerism” but also by collaborating with Black owned businesses and by actively participating in local initiatives to uplift and empower Black-owned businesses in your community.
Here’s a comprehensive guide to making a lasting impact:
1. Conscious Consumerism: Making Thoughtful Purchases
What I do regularly when I need a product or service, I research, ask for suggestions and try to consciously discover Black-owned businesses in my area or online that offer what I need.
You too can use online directories, social media, and word-of-mouth to find a diverse range of products and services that align with your interests.
Then don’t stop there. Spread the word. Make sure you share your positive experiences with these businesses on social media, leave reviews, and recommend them to friends and family.
You never realize the impact of Word-of-mouth referrals until you read about how one viral post or review saves a business on the brink of shutting down.
2. Collaborate and Build Relationships
Your support can be symbiotic as well. If you are in a decision-making position in your job or b business, create opportunities to collaborate with Black entrepreneurs.
There are a variety of ways you can do this: Plan joint events, product collaborations, or co-host workshops that showcase the strengths of both businesses.
Mentor as well. Offer your skills and expertise in the industry to mentor aspiring Black business owners coming up.
If you’re not ready for that level of commitment, you can do this on a smaller scale by agreeing to participate in local networking events and where you can get an opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations with several Black-owned businesses.
Again, supplier diversity programs are superb if you run a business. Consider diversifying your suppliers by actively seeking out Black-owned suppliers for your materials and services.
3. Sharing Resources and Support: – If you have the capacity, consider financially supporting a Black Owned business. You can invest in them by offering loans, grants, or donations.
Also, join with others. Consider contributing to crowdfunding campaigns or supporting initiatives that provide funding to help these businesses grow.
Your support doesn’t have to be monetary only in nature. Education and training offer tremendous intangible value!! Offer to provide workshops, webinars, or resources that can help Black entrepreneurs enhance their skills and knowledge in areas such as marketing, finance, and business management.
Finally, an impactful way of giving support is through advocacy and representation. At your local or community boards, advocate for policy changes that promote equity in business opportunities. Also, encourage local government and organizations to prioritize supporting Black-owned businesses through initiatives and grants.
4. Participating in Local Initiatives
A lot of towns, cities, counties and municipalities across the United States organize events that showcase and promote Black-owned businesses.
Whenever I hear about these, I make it a priority to try to stop by. They come in the form of pop up marketplaces, showcases or expos that provide a platform for these entrepreneurs to connect with the community.
5. Community Engagement.
If you have the time, talents and opportunity, consider volunteering to support these local initiatives when you hear about them. Keep your eyes peeled on your social media news feed during this time of year.
There are opportunities for you to share your knowledge as a mentor at business development workshops thrown by local, civic and government organizations and agencies.
As a Black-owned business owner myself, I make it a priority to support and uplift fellow Black-owned businesses all year round. My commitment goes beyond the month of August.
By practicing conscious consumerism, collaborating, sharing resources, and participating in local initiatives, you too can contribute to the growth and success of Black entrepreneurs.
Join me in working together to create an environment where these businesses can thrive, innovate, and continue to make meaningful contributions to our communities and society as a whole.