A robust 60% of small companies go out of business within six months after a data loss incident.
Technology for the last two decades has been—and will continue to be—the driving accelerator to connect the world. Consider how the likes of Amazon, Google, and Uber use the platform to boost revenues and reach customers globally. Yet, black-owned small businesses have not been an integral part of that vital mainstream.
A new partnership between Overland-Tandberg and the United States Black Chambers (USBC) aims to change that picture for black companies. The alliance will use technology as an economic empowerment tool to help those businesses survive, scale-up, and become inclusive players in the tech ecosystem. “By connecting Overland-Tandberg to USBC’s more than 300,000 members, these companies now receive the same world-class data infrastructure, business continuity, and data protection solutions that are available to Fortune 500 companies and technology industry giants,” Eric Kelly, Overland-Tandberg’s chairman and CEO, recently stated.
An IT infrastructure, data management, and protection company, Overland-Tandberg protects the digital assets of large and small companies in over 90 countries. It was one of Black Enterprise’s 2019 Top 100 companies.
“Business continuity and data protection are critical to the success of small companies as a study we performed with Google confirmed that 98% of black businesses close their doors after being hacked,” Ron Busby, USBC president and CEO, stated recently. “The fact that Overland-Tandberg is a USBC President Circle member and one of the only black-owned and operated global technology companies ensures that our collaboration will be mutually beneficial and will allow us to drive positive business impact for our members.”
Kelly told Black Enterprise in an interview that his Silicon Valley tech company is providing USBC state of the art, enterprise-level data management, and data protection solutions so that black small businesses can grow and protect their companies. He added the partnership will provide those organizations the products and education to help them understand how to avoid data loss, system failures, hackers, and other catastrophes. “Digital assets are worth more than gold,” Kelly says.
So why is it critically important for black-owned businesses to operate in the technology sector now at a higher level? One reason is the global information technology industry is on track to reach $5.2 trillion in 2020, reports the research consultancy Information Data Corp (IDC). Of that amount, the United States is estimated to be the world’s largest tech market with $1.7 trillion in revenues this year. That by itself offers existing and budding black-owned tech firms, a great incentive to capture or benefit from those market opportunities.
And it doesn’t just stop there. Kelly maintains more black entrepreneurs need to be in technology to help build generational wealth for their families. Consider that Black Enterprise reported in 2017 that the average net worth of a black family was $4,900 versus $97,000 for a white family.
“If we don’t change the trajectory, the net worth of a black family will be zero in the next 20 years,” Kelly said. In his view, the black community is in a crisis today on the technology front. He estimates there are roughly 1,300 black technology firms in the country. In contrast, there are reportedly more than 150,000 information technology firms nationally. “Blacks play a significant role in identifying the trends for products and services built in the technology industry and are continuing to develop more efficient ways to leverage the trends to establish and build businesses in this space,” Kelly says.
But he says the partnership will help tackle that problem by providing chamber members mentorships. That effort will help teach those firms how to build generational wealth within their companies and families, be competitive with other companies in the tech system, and educate them as to what is required to operate in the industry.
Further, Kelly says the partnership will provide a platform so that chamber members can get connected it the tech ecosystem. African American firms must be able to leverage technology to gain access to startups, education, government, and corporations. Kelly says black firms have a wide range of products and services that global companies can and should use.
So how will the partnership help black entrepreneurs interested in starting up technology companies launch businesses in various industries? How will the partnership provide them access to funding resources, business expertise or networking to help ensure they succeed and not fail?
The partnership offers global intellect and inclusion principles that are vital elements of Bridge 2 Technologies, a new initiative launched by Overland-Tandberg. It is geared to build a global ecosystem made up of leading companies that highly value diversity and inclusion, and a partnership framework to positively impact students, professionals, managers, executives, board members and business owners of color; and to close the digital divide, USBC reports.
Plus, the initiative will allow technology-focused startups created by founders of color to access capital resources and funding. The initiative will align a cross-section of executives and thought leaders from various industries across the world to address the compounding effects of the digital divide including the workforce gap, economic inequality, and the lack of capital and mentorship.
All told, Kelly maintains that it’s essential that USBC members consider using the partnership to grow, protect their digital assets, and become more competitive now and in the future.
“It’s time for small businesses to take advantage of partnerships such as this, leverage technology, protect their companies and avoid a catastrophic event.”