There’s an undeniable relationship between black businesses, self-empowerment, and community empowerment that's multifaceted and deeply interdependent. “The history of Black entrepreneurship can be traced back to the late 1700s — when free and enslaved Black people opened small businesses like barbershops and tobacco outlets."
"From 1900 to 1930, the period was known as the ‘golden age’ for Black-owned businesses. Segregation helped nurture Black-owned districts, including Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma.” Black businesses have always played a crucial role in uplifting and empowering the black community economically, socially, and politically.
Here are some key aspects of this relationship:
Economic Empowerment: Black-owned businesses create economic opportunities within the black community. They generate jobs, provide entrepreneurial opportunities, and contribute to the overall wealth and financial stability of black individuals and communities. By supporting black businesses, consumers can help circulate wealth within the community and promote economic growth.
Representation and Visibility: Black-owned businesses serve as a visible representation of black excellence and success. When individuals see successful black entrepreneurs and businesses, it can inspire and empower others to pursue their own dreams and entrepreneurial endeavors. Representation matters, and black businesses contribute to breaking down stereotypes and promoting positive role models within the black community.
Community Development: Black-owned businesses often play an active role in community development and reinvestment. By investing in local neighborhoods, providing services, and supporting community initiatives, black businesses can help improve the quality of life and address specific needs within the community. This type of localized empowerment creates a sense of pride and self-sufficiency within the community.
Social and Political Influence: Black businesses can also have a significant impact on social and political change. By leveraging their economic power, they can advocate for policies that address systemic inequalities, promote diversity and inclusion, and support initiatives that uplift marginalized communities. Additionally, black business owners can use their platform to amplify important social issues and contribute to the broader fight for racial justice and equality.
Empowerment: the process of gaining the power, authority, and/or autonomy to make decisions and take actions that influence your own life. Developing the skills, knowledge, and confidence necessary to assert your own rights, express your own opinions, and positively participate actively a larger community.
This National Black Business Month, we’re highlighting a few local black business owners. Not just because they simply own a business but a business dedicated to uplifting and empowering the community through their mission, their vision, and their ideals. These are business owners who’ve turned their hardship to hope and have first-hand experience building a sense of pride, purpose, and empowerment from the inside out. These are business owners who can speak directly to the youth we serve, because they, too, have been challenged in ways that called for their highest character strengths to be revealed.
Success as a black business owner typically requires several character traits...
Tenacity: Successful black business owners demonstrate a strong sense of perseverance and determination. They are resilient in the face of challenges and setbacks, and they don't easily give up.
Confidence: Confidence plays a crucial role in entrepreneurship. Successful black business owners believe in themselves and their abilities. They can make bold decisions and take calculated risks.
Ambition: Successful black entrepreneurs possess a strong drive and ambition to achieve their goals. They have a clear vision for their business and are willing to work hard to make it a reality.
Curiosity: Successful entrepreneurs have a natural sense of curiosity. They are constantly seeking new knowledge, ideas, and opportunities. This curiosity fuels their innovation and allows them to stay ahead in the competitive business landscape.
Resourcefulness: Black business owners often face unique challenges and barriers. Successful entrepreneurs are resourceful and find innovative solutions to overcome these obstacles. They leverage their networks, seek out mentorship, and tap into available resources.
So, this month, we're celebrating and inviting a few select business owners to speak about their personal obstacles, wins and woes, and victories. These are not only neighbors to Covenant House in the Greater Washington region, these are neighbors who serve to empower the next generation. These are true Neighbors of Empowerment.
Celebrate National Black Business Month! Register for the Southeast Community Arts & Business Festival in August 2023.
We're still open to new neighbors. Feel like you are or know of a business owner ready to share their story with our youth? Click Here or share the link.