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Authored By: Tamiko Cuellar
When it comes to economic development, empowerment and revitalization in the Black community, there is no better way to achieve these than through thriving business ownership. Businesses create jobs, promote self-sufficiency and help stabilize local economies. They also create a self-sustaining microcosm for neighborhoods and families and serve as a tool for building generational wealth. So, if businesses have such a powerful impact on Black communities, why doesn’t it seem like Black businesses matter to us Blacks?
As a Small Business Strategist with over ten years of entrepreneurial experience, and who coaches predominately African American women business owners, I have found that there is a cognitive dissonance - a disconnect between what we say we believe and what we do when it comes to Blacks supporting Black-owned businesses. I am aware of some of the reasons Blacks shy away from supporting Black businesses:
1. They are perceived to deliver a substandard quality product or service,
2. They are not convenient to access or easy to locate or
3. It’s simply not a priority to do so.
While some of these reasons may hold some merit, we should recognize that each time we support a small business, we help someone from our community to support his/her family, create opportunities for gainful employment and pass down a wealth producing entity that could potentially last for generations. We can each individually do our small part to help support fellow Black businesses. We can financially support their dream by providing seed money to get started, buy their products or services, introduce them to much needed connections or information that will facilitate their growth, and promote them on social media and by word of mouth.
If you are a Black business owner or aspiring, do you support other Black businesses like you want others to support yours?
When you do, it creates a cycle of wealth rather than poverty because we are using our own dollars in our own neighborhoods (assuming you live among other African Americans) or for the Black community at large.
Allow me to put some things into perspective on why Black businesses matter with the following scenario. A non-black owned beauty supply store owner who lives in a non-black neighborhood but owns a business in a Black neighborhood, uses Black dollars spent to take back to their own neighborhoods and spend it - making their neighborhoods thrive, and to put their kids through college and create generational wealth by passing down the family business to their heir. A Black-owned beauty supply store owner who also lives in a Black community, struggles to stay in business because Blacks take their dollars to non-Black businesses. As a result, that Black business owner cannot afford to hire anyone in the community, send their children to college on its meager earnings, and is ultimately forced to close its doors - leaving them unable to pass down their business as an inheritance.
This is why Black businesses matter. We are more economically empowered when we support each other rather than those who have no vested interest in our community’s well-being. We can end the cycle of generational poverty and create more sustainable Black communities when we collectively grasp and apply this concept.
So let us put our money where our mouths are and make a concerted effort to support more Black businesses on a consistent basis.