NCBW National Small Business Week: How to Support Black Female Businesses
By Belinda Walker, National Economic Empowerment Committee Chair
If you’re looking to support Black women business owners in a meaningful way, there are numerous ways to drive positive change within your community and within your business:
Increasing visibility –
One of the biggest things you can do to support Black-owned businesses is to let others know about them by sharing social media posts, mentioning them on your business’s social media, or writing about them in your weekly newsletter to customers.
Identifying needs –
If you wish to support a Black female business, don’t be afraid to reach out to the business owner to ask how they’d like to be supported. Maybe it’s by donating to their merchandise fund or maybe it’s sharing their upcoming events with friends and family.
Being a consistent advocate –
Support local Black-owned businesses beyond designated holidays. Instead, be intentional about your business’s purchases and aim to support Black businesses throughout the year by referring others to the business, engaging in their social media posts, and submitting positive reviews of the business.
Sharing with your circle –
Spread the word by sharing the business’s accolades with your community members, from coworkers to in-laws. It’s free and beneficial to local shops.
Invest in the Black female businesses you love with financial support.
Offering mentorship and resources –
If you have experience running a business or know someone who does, ask the business owner if they’d be interested in a mentorship that supports their business with technical skills, learned experience, or a network of like-minded entrepreneurs.
Dedicate your shelf space to Black brands –
Inspired by New York City entrepreneur Aurora James, The 15 Percent Pledge encourages top retailers like Vogue and Bloomingdale’s to dedicate a minimum of 15% of their shelf space to Black brands since Black Americans make up 15% of the country’s population.
Match employee donations –
Encourage your employees to financially support black female businesses by matching their donations to Black-owned or Black-serving businesses and organizations.
Educate yourself –
Understand the disparities faced by Black female business owners in comparison to businesses that are white-owned. According to Fortune Magazine, unrestricted donations to Black-owned businesses are 76% smaller than those of white-owned businesses.
You can support local Black female businesses in-person or online. To start, visit databases to find a local Black female business in your area:
- Black Business Green Book – Founded by civil rights advocacy group, Color of Change, the Black Business Green Book was launched to provide support to Black businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Shop Black Owned – The database currently caters to eight U.S. cities: Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle. The map-based tool is free and lists over 1,000 Black-owned businesses, with more being added every day.
- WeBuyBlack – Founded in 2015, WeBuyBlack is one of the largest global e-marketplaces for Black-owned businesses. It provides customers with ways to make the switch from big-name brands to Black-owned brands, with deals on such items as clothing, head wraps, and beauty products.
- EatOkra – For those looking to indulge in a delicious meal, EatOkra provides a database of Black-owned restaurants and food events in your area.
- Chez Nous Guide – The database is a volunteer-led inclusive and intersectional database for marginalized businesses, artists, and organizations.
Business Insider. How to go beyond buying and truly support Black-owned businesses, according to 4 Black entrepreneurs. https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-support-black-owned-businesses-according-to-black-entrepreneurs-2020-6
Fortune Magazine. The funding gap between Black- and white-led organizations is clear—and alarming. https://fortune.com/2020/09/28/black-lives-matter-leaders-philanthropy/
CNN. ‘My Black Receipt’ campaign encourages consumers to spend $5 million at Black-owned businesses through July 6. https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/24/business/my-black-receipt-businesses-yelp-trnd/index.html
Forbes. Black Female Entrepreneurs Are Launching More Businesses Than Ever: Here’s What They Need To Help Them Mature. https://www.forbes.com/sites/shelleyzalis/2021/05/25/black-female-entrepreneurs-are-launching-more-businesses-than-ever-heres-what-they-need-to-help-them-mature/?sh=41c59dcf6bc0
The Wall Street Journal. The Clubby World of Venture Capital Finds a New Bet: Black Entrepreneurs. https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-clubby-world-of-venture-capital-finds-a-new-bet-black-entrepreneurs-11624008600#.