August is National Black Business Month, and I am reflecting on what action we can all take to support Black-owned businesses and shine a light on Black entrepreneurs.
First, some good news: A new survey by the National Black Chamber of Commerce and Groupon of more than 400 Black small business owners found that 75% have seen an increase in business since the protests sparked by the death of George Floyd began in June.
People are taking action, but we still have a long way to go in recognizing the contributions of Black-owned businesses across the country and their important role in the community, as well as the national economy.
Black business owners currently make up 10% of U.S. businesses and about 30% of all minority-owned businesses, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which amounts to about 2 million companies in the country. These companies create one million jobs and generate annual revenues of about $187 million, according to blackdemographics.com
But they face a disproportionate amount of challenges. The survey of Black business owners also reported that:
- 80% said they faced more challenges launching their businesses due to their race.
- 74% said they’ve had fewer opportunities due to a lack of capital investment and resources targeted towards Black communities.
- 76% of Black-owned businesses said they were negatively impacted by COVID-19, but only 5% of those that applied for Paycheck Protection Program loan received one.
At SEEMA, we continue to employ, spotlight, and support Black entrepreneurs and businesses! As a platform that empowers women, we have a particular interest in showcasing business owned by Black women.
On the cover this week we showcase our all Black creative team that worked on the stunning SEEMA cover shoot last year, featuring breast cancer survivor, Sheetal Sheth, who was still going through chemotherapy during the shoot. The incredible team of professional photographers, stylists, and creative artists made Sheetal and other strong women we featured feel comfortable and their best selves.
Also photographed were Harman’s Roopa Unnikrishnan and CNN’s Mitra Kalita, who commented on how refreshing it was to see an all-Black team. As make up artist Tiffani Rains, who made all the women look their absolute gorgeous selves, said in her post, moments like these should not be rare, they should be the norm. “We deserve to be in the room and in abundance. We want the same opportunities because we deserve them. People think we are asking for jobs because we are Black, but the truth is we are asking not to be overlooked for the job because we are Black. We want the job because we are qualified.” Tiffany, we support and thank you and thank all the artists and writers and creative teams that have worked on our SEEMA platforms.
This Black Business Month, we observe and recognize the important role that Black owned businesses play for our community and economy as well.
We also take this opportunity to reiterate that Black Lives Matter and that economic empowerment and entrepreneurship of the Black community matters.
As a network that supports South Asian Women and other minorities, we aspire to showcase and invest in minority and women owned businesses. Please join us in showing your support for Black-owned businesses in your community this August and, more importantly, beyond.