S. E. Williams |

During the month of August, Black Voice News highlighted  Black owned businesses in the inland region  as a way to recognize Black entrepreneurs for their successes, milestones, and historical progress. Our goal then and now is to encourage support of  these businesses not only during the month of August, but every month. 

Although Black entrepreneurs have a long and challenging history in America which includes systemic racism, redlining and even violence,  they continue to persevere. In part, their history of survival is rooted in the ability to coalesce for mutual support. 

In 1900 Booker T. Washington founded the National Negro Business League establishing an institution that convened members of the Black community who were businessowners, community figures, and educators in order to pursue prosperity, financial growth and economic development among the African American community. 

The National Negro Business League Executive Committee (Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress)

Supporting Black businesses today is more important than ever  as many continue to recover from the economic losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Pepi Jackson, President of the Riverside County Black Chamber of Commerce (RCBCC) (source: twitter)

Black businesses in the Inland Empire were hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic. They need community support year round. As noted by Pepi Jackson, President of the Riverside County Black Chamber of Commerce, “I believe that National Black Business Month is especially important to celebrate in this time and day, simply because we’re coming out of history’s worst pandemic that has caused the most damage to Black businesses that is, in memorable history, other than slavery itself.” 

Black Women Making an Impact

Despite the setbacks, businesses owned by Black women accounted for 21 percent of all women-owned businesses in the country and their businesses have grown at an annual rate of 12 percent for the past year compared to an eight percent annual growth rate between 2014 and 2019. 

Data from the 2019 State of Women-Owned Business Report commissioned by American Express. (Image by Breanna Reeves)

Recycling Black Dollars in Support of Black Businesses

According to Black Economics 101, “The average Black dollar lasts only hours within the Black community and that lack of reinvestment—i.e., not supporting Black-owned banks and businesses—has in some ways contributed to the wealth gap between Blacks and other ethnicities.”

More than 37 million Black people in America spend about $1 trillion in value each year, often going into the hands of  corporations and others who work against the best interest of Black people. If money talks, like the old folks say, then one trillion dollars should buy a lot of  conversation–let them speak for the economic empowerment of Black people.  Supporting Black-owned businesses helps strengthen  the economic viability of the Black community. 

“The key to a healthy, vibrant Black community is [first] entrepreneurship, and then more of those companies must grow. We need more enterprises to move out of the small-business category and into the middle-market business category, which is defined as companies with at least $50 million of annual revenue,”  according to Black Economics 101.  

The Power of Social Media

Black-owned businesses however, cannot survive, thrive and grow without consumer support and such support must begin in local communities. 

Nielsen’s 10th-Year African American Consumer Report published in October 2020 found, “African Americans are nearly three times as likely to take to social media to show support of their favorite companies and brands.” Let’s use our social media power to uplift Black-owned businesses at every opportunity. 

Black-Owned Media is Part of the Equation

Despite research showing, Black consumers are the number one ethnic group in watching live TV, playing game consoles, smartphone media consumption, and streaming audio, the top 20 advertisers have only recently increased advertising dollars from $3.34 billion in 2011 to $3.86 billion in 2019—almost a 16 percent  increase— to reach members of the Black community, few of those advertising dollars however, flow to Black media. 

Once again, I encourage you to support Black-owned businesses including the Black press at every opportunity.  

To locate a Black-owned  business in the inland region visit theartlands.org/black-owned-business or.yelp.com/collection/XjxVTHXWXzO8VDcrCJOFpQ

Stephanie Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News. A longtime champion  for civil rights and justice in all its forms, she is also an advocate for government transparency and committed to ferreting out and exposing government corruption. Stephannie has received awards for her investigative reporting and for her weekly  column, Keeping it Real. Contact Stephanie with tips, comments. or concerns at myopinion@ievoice.com.