I champion as often as I can being a successful Black-owned business in an industry dominated by those who don’t look like me. Despite these challenges, I’ve beaten the odds and have been able to grow my company as a result of my unique skills and without a doubt because of the support from my network, community and tribe.

3 Places to Find Black-Owned Businesses

  1. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s list of 17 directories for Black businesses
  2. The Support Black Owned Business directory, searchable by state and by service
  3. ByBlack, which organizes businesses by cities and includes an option to refer a business

August is National Black Business Month, and let’s face it: Companies are not doing nearly enough to celebrate and uplift Black businesses. Startups and tech companies in particular have used movements like George Floyd’s murder or cultural moments such as Black History Month and Juneteenth to make a big declarative statement, only to never really follow through on those promises that helped garner new followers and engagement that the company didn’t otherwise have. It’s grossly unfair and has got to stop. 

Curious on where to start and how to finally put an end to your excuses? Below are four actions that you can take right now to help Black-owned businesses prosper year-round. 

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Support Black-Owned Banks  

Did you know that fewer than 1 percent of U.S. banks are Black-owned? This is shocking and a major disadvantage, especially since Black communities rely on these financial institutions to build wealth and access necessary services, for instance financial literacy programs and workshops, that they might otherwise be turned down for at the alternative. 

This also means that Black banks don’t have as many resources or assets to support the communities they serve, which only widens the gap. Black Americans have been discriminated against by banks and are 1.6 times more likely to be denied a mortgage than white customers, according to a recent LendingTree report.

If this bothers you, and it should, take matters into your own hands and fight systemic racism while promoting racial equity simply by doing business with Black-owned banks or personal finance companies. Open up an account, take out a loan, invest as a shareholder. By doing so you are helping to improve financial literacy and reduce disparities that keep Blacks from being unbanked or underbanked. 


Invest in the Black Community

I could go on and on about this, but let’s first start with funding and the lack of capital that Black-owned tech founders receive when trying to scale their businesses. It’s also worth noting that only a handful of Black-owned startups are considered unicorns (one of which is a client). Black startups received less than 1 percent of VC funding in 2022, and the average amount of capital that goes to Black founders is $35,000, compared with $106,000 for white founders. The recent banking collapses have only made this problem worse

Something has to change. VC firms and the tech community need to fund and invest in Black-owned early- and late-stage companies on a regular basis. There’s really no other way to put it. If you aren’t able to provide as much financial backing and still want to invest and participate, do so by becoming a regular customer for Black-owned businesses when you dine out at restaurants, decide to use a personal or business service and just by buying Black. 


Do Business With Black B2B and Suppliers 

Companies have a chance to support Black businesses and entrepreneurs just by evaluating which B2B companies they work with. If you’re noticing that all of your partners look and act the same (white? mostly male?) and aren’t as inclusive as you make it appear, now is the time to adopt new ways of working. 

Be intentional about which third-party providers you use and buy from Black-owned services and brands. Whether you partner with consultants, subscribe to a service or outsource a business need to a vendor, use this as an opportunity to build and maintain new relationships with Black suppliers that can help your company achieve its goals. 

My business has benefitted from this and I’ve been fortunate enough to have clients who are passionate about supporting me and encouraging diversity. Companies that have diverse workforces and teams perform better financially and are more productive than those that choose to stick to the archaic, outdated ways of running a business. 

Read More About Diversity and Inclusion Remote Work Is Great for DEI. Here’s Why.


Recommend and Promote Black-Owned Businesses

The popular saying, “it’s about who you know, not what you know,” is so true. Connections are vital to long-term success and can open up new doors and opportunities. Startups, investors, and tech companies should be tapping into their networks constantly to help Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs jumpstart and eventually flourish. 

When was the last time that you used your personal and professional platforms or contacts to amplify a Black-owned business? Most likely not ever or hardly enough. Tech companies and startups have massive followings and influence that should be leveraged for good and taking Black-owned companies to the next level. 

When was the last time that you used your personal and professional platforms to amplify a Black-owned business? Most likely not ever or hardly enough.

And the right connection can truly make all the difference. Ninety percent of my clients come from referrals. I cherish these connections that I’ve built over the course of my career. Start recommending Black-owned businesses in your ongoing meetings and calls. Post year-round on social media platforms or in your company newsletters. And throw intimate events with industry movers and shakers that showcase Black businesses and their missions. 

Running a company is by no means easy for anyone, yet Black business owners have had to overcome hurdles and endure a lack of access to capital, resources and support that have kept us from reaching our full potential.

By applying any and hopefully all of the above tactics, you are promoting racial justice and are tearing down decades of systemic oppression. Don’t wait until a holiday or event happens to begin spreading the word on Black businesses and our immense contributions to society. That can and should start with you. 

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