Black Business Month was officially founded in 2004 by Frederick E. Jordan and John William Templeton as a way to uplift Black business owners in the US. This annual celebration is part of a long history of Black business owners striving for equality. Notable moments in that history include Booker T. Washington supporting Black entrepreneurs by founding the National Negro Business League (then renamed to the National Business League). The founding of Black Wall Street, a prosperous business district in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the 1920s, also represented the potential of communities coming together. And one of the most successful entrepreneurs, Reginald Lewis, founded TLC International Holdings, making him the first African-American with a billion-dollar company.
Black Business Month is about highlighting this entrepreneurial community and making sure more Black-owned businesses can reach those levels of success.
Black Business Month starts on Monday, August 1st, 2022. It is celebrated throughout August as a time to support and appreciate Black-owned businesses.
According to a 2021 census on minority-owned businesses, Black and African American business owners own approximately 124,551 businesses in the U.S.
While there’s been growth in black entrepreneurs and businesses over the years, these business owners still face disproportionate inequalities that can hinder their abilities to gain financial support, receive equal wages, and find employment within their local communities.
The concept of Black Business Month is simple: support Black-owned organizations to promote greater economic freedom for Black neighbors and their growing businesses. To that end, Jordan and Templeton have pushed to create a more hospitable environment for black entrepreneurs and businesses to grow by reaching out to:
Looking at the numbers quickly paints a picture of why an initiative like Black Business Month is so important.
Between February and April of 2020, Black business ownership dropped more than 40% due to lack of access to financial relief and funding during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But that’s not the only reason why Black businesses need support—systematic inequalities have hindered Black Americans for decades. As a result, the wealth and wage gap between Black and white families is vast.
More specifically, income inequality, due to the residual effects of slavery and later Jim Crow laws, continues the systemic inequality Black families face today. This is according to The Economic State of Black America in 2020 published by Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA).
On closer inspection, the report lays out a series of statistics that illustrate the magnitude of the divide in Black earning potential.
When small businesses come together, they can greatly make an impact in their communities. For Black Business Month, each day of August is an opportunity to give back. Here are four ways you can show support.