Aug. 27, 2021
NACA Director of Finance & Administration
August 2021 marks the 18th annual National Black Business month, founded on August 1, 2004 by Frederick E. Jordan, an engineering entrepreneur and John William Templeton, president and executive editor of a scholarly publishing company. The purpose was to drive the policy agenda that adversely and disproportionately impacted access to capital by Black-owned businesses.
The origin and history of Black enterprise includes such well-known names as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois who established the National Negro Business League (now the National Business League) in 1900 to encourage financial literacy among Black communities. But it is not only those whose names stand out in history who deserve credit for the continued movement. Those who have persisted in their passion in spite of these obstacles deserve credit for the progress made.
A study by the National Black Chamber of Commerce found that 80 percent of Black business owners said they faced significant challenges getting their business off the ground due to their race, and 59 percent reported being victims of racism or bias. Among other challenges were lack of access to capital, building a support network and being taken seriously. In spite of the challenges, they forged ahead.
Black-owned businesses continue to face inequalities in access to financial support, wages and employment. Between February and April of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a 40% drop in Black business ownership due to lack of financial relief. Looking back over the history of progress is encouraging, but there is still so far to go to close the gaps.
While National Black Business Month is a time set aside to recognize Black-owned businesses’ role in the community and the national economy, let’s all do our part year-round by patronizing Black-owned businesses. Our communities and our country will be better for it.
Brenda Baker is the director of finance and administration at the National Association for Campus Activities. Baker has dedicated her 40-year career to managing associations' financial resources and services.
Related Professional Competency: Networking & Business Relationships
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