Celebrating Black Business

Frederick E. Jordan and John William Templeton crusade to raise awareness with a month of recognition in August

that African Americans seem less concerned about supporting black-owned businesses. “When black consumers lived in black neighborhoods, they were sensitive to black businesses,” Jordan says. He attributes the somewhat diminished role that black businesses now play in the lives of many African Americans to the growth of diverse suburban areas.

“The key idea of National Black Business Month is that redirecting a small portion of our individual spending would dramatically increase the sales of black-owned businesses,” says Templeton. Take Dolores Nehemiah Ph.D., of Los Angeles, for example. After recovering from a heart attack, she got a group of her friends together to buy a CT scan for a local black doctor who had helped save her life. “Now neighborhood residents have access to regular screenings for telltale signs of strokes, heart attacks, and aneurysms,” Templeton says. “When you support the businesses in your own community, you support yourself.”

The official Website, www.blackbusinessmonth.com, lists 31 practical ways to support black-owned businesses in August, from making a deposit in a black-owned bank on Aug. 1 to visiting a cultural festival on Aug. 31.

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Set aside money for purchases within the black community. One thing a family can do is establish a budget for shopping with African American businesses. During August, they can use the 31 days to determine which companies are convenient to them that offer good service and fair prices, and come up with a plan for patronizing them. For instance, the Mo’ Better Food Market in Oakland and the Harambee Farmers Market in Los Angeles provide opportunities to buy produce from black farmers. The budget should include any additional travel or time adjustments that need to be made.

Visit black-owned hotels when traveling. Make a habit of seeking out hotels owned by members of NABHOOD, the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers, when you travel. These hotels can be found in practically any major city, often in prime travel locations.

Do business with other black entrepreneurs. If you’re a black business owner, use National Black Business Month to identify other black-owned businesses as potential vendors. This will help create and sustain jobs for African Americans.

Connect with state and local officials. Find out how much your city and state spend with black-owned businesses. “If there are policies that impede doing business with them, speak to elected officials about changing them,” says Templeton.

Jason Evers Robers is a freelance writer for Black Enterprise.

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