Business and brand pioneer Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter, a natural haircare and beauty products line, was recently honored by the Harlem Business Alliance (HBA), a New York City nonprofit that services Harlem’s business community.
Price received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award during HBA’s 35th Anniversary Awards Dinner. Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, who owns New York restaurants Red Rooster & Streetbird, was honored with a Business Person Award.
The Harlem Business Alliance was founded in 1980 by a group of prominent Harlem business leaders who recognized the void that had resulted from years of disinvestment and abandonment in Harlem and the critical need to mobilize the existing businesses and organizations to come together as a collective voice.
Other HBA honorees included NYC Comptroller’s Chief Diversity Officer Carra Wallace (Government Service Award), journalist at NY1 & CNN Errol Louis (Percy E. Sutton Award), Red Rabbit founder Rhys Powell (Chairman’s Award), and Harlem Haberdashery co-owner Louis Johnson Jr. (Community Service Award).
Each of the winners embodied this year’s Awards Dinner theme: Black Business Matters. Meaning, they understand the necessity and importance of Harlem Business Alliance in the community and urged attendees to assist and give back to the community in their own ways; either through philanthropy and support of their community or starting businesses of their own.
Many of the honorees accredited each other as motivation to continue pushing forward an agenda based on supporting Harlem and the African American community as a whole.
The surprise of the evening came at the end of the program when New York Congressman Charles Rangel took the stage to award HBA Executive Director, Regina Smith with the Legends Award. As a parting courtesy from Congressman Rangel, HBA received an official Proclamation declaring March 29th as “Black Business Matters Day.”
The importance of black business in helping to uplift the community in terms of addressing societal issues cannot be understated. History has shown, despite harrowing and tough times in hostile environments, growth and support of black-owned businesses, translates into substantive progress in the black community, note HBA representatives.
In 2012, HBA was awarded a $728,750 Community Economic Development (CED) grant for a new HBA program, the Back Office Support Initiative. With this grant, HBA was able to build a new co-working space. Creative Workspace @HBA houses a Business Support Center where it provides pro-bono back office services for up to a year to eligible local entrepreneurs.
In exchange for this assistance, these entrepreneurs agree to hire low-income residents. As of now, these CED entrepreneurs have hired more than 60 employees.