What Philly Is Doing to Blacken the Green Rush, and More Black Business News

Get caught up on the black business news happening around the country with our roundup of stories you may have missed:

The Green Rush Heads to Philly

This fall, black entrepreneurs who want to break into the cannabis industry will meet up in Philadelphia. The upcoming conference was announced last week during a forum on the business of cannabis in the black community, reports public media WHYY:

The Colorado-based coalition Women Grow will hold the event to bring more color to the white-dominated industry.

Desirée Ivey, Philadelphia market leader for Women Grow, said there are plenty of opportunities for black people in the cannabis industry.

“We need to get on this now because this is a billion-dollar industry,” she said. “And we all can benefit from it. We all can feed our kids and our families … whatever your angle is, there’s ways to do it in this industry.”

Medical marijuana has been legal in Pennsylvania for the last two years. And although recreational use is still illegal, parts of the state, including Philly, have been decriminalizing weed.

Minority Business Boost in Grand Rapids

(Photo: Facebook)

Grand Rapids, Michigan, is investing in small businesses of color. According to Grand Rapids Business Journal, the city’s Economic Development Corp. is renewing an $80,000 contract with Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses that will fund its accelerator program, called GRABB 5, for one year:

The program aims to improve the success rate of black-owned small businesses as they transition from the startup to the growth phase. It is a six-month program done in collaboration with the city and Start Garden, whereby five businesses are selected for a six-month process.

Since the beginning of GRABB 5, the organization has helped accelerate 15 businesses, and work with these businesses continued beyond the six-month period originally designated.

The program’s stated goal is to “significantly expand the overall ecosystem and improve access to Social, Intellectual and Financial capital that is essential to entrepreneurship” for the participating business. The investment also includes $50,000 for the Goods for Grand Rapids Campaign by Local First to support the creation of higher quality jobs and more diverse workforces.

A Spotlight on Miami’s Little Haiti

Caribbean Marketplace (Photo: Little Haiti Cultural Complex)

Public broadcasting’s WJCT is giving some shine to the Caribbean Marketplace in Little Haiti, which opened in 2014 but struggled to attract both vendors and shoppers. The marketplace seems to be hitting its stride now:

The marketplace is now open every day except Sunday. A little cafe is tucked in the corner where the owner, Ti George makes strong black coffee imported from Haiti and sells flaky Haitian patties. A mini-golf station is set up right next to the cafe, each hole is named after a historical landmark in Haiti.

The space is at its busiest on Saturdays, where a weekly market attracts vendors selling conch salads, vegan Caribbean food, or traditional fritay (fried pork and fried plantain). Fashion designers, visual artists and other makers set up shop here too.

Noting that the marketplace could be a solution for smaller black-owned businesses as they struggle with rising rents in the city, WJCT profiles some of the entrepreneurs working to make the marketplace a “hub for culture and commerce.”