The value of entrepreneurship has long been a major influence in the Black community, making it an essential contributor to the nation’s economy.
The devastating impact of the pandemic and ongoing socioeconomic battles like lack of access to much-needed capital to open or expand ventures have made it extremely challenging for Black entrepreneurs trying to advance in the highly competitive business mainstream.
National Black Business Month provides a chance for consumers and proprietors to not only support Black businesses but provide them a platform to grow their enterprises and build wealth for current and future generations of African Americans.
Black Business Month in Utah
Since 2020, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall has declared August as Black-Owned Business Month as nationally recognized in the United States. These statements appear directly in the declaration signed by the mayor:
WHEREAS, throughout history, despite facing systemic racism, redlining, and even extreme violence, as evidenced through the Tulsa Massacre of 1921, Black businesses continue to grow and thrive throughout the nation; and
WHEREAS, this year, as Black businesses continue to recover from economic losses onset by the pandemic, National Black Business Month deserves to be recognized, supported and celebrated; and
In 2022, an important addition was made to this declaration saying:
WHEREAS, Salt Lake City values the impact and influence of Black businesses by supporting the Utah Black Chamber, the Black Owned Business Expo, and administering the City’s Economic Development programs equitably…
This statement stands clear that our community must not only recognize but value Black business owners. YOUR support is imperative to help small businesses grow in Utah. The declaration also invites residents, fellow business owners, and employees to learn about, support, and explore our local Black businesses by visiting www.utahblackpages.com launched by the Utah Black Chamber and Podium in 2020. Here is another perfect place to start to find Black-owned businesses in Utah by category and need published by Black Lives Matter Utah.
ABC4 engaged in important conversations with Black business owners to hear about the impacts and barriers they face as they begin and continue their business ventures. Steven Johnson, CEO of Luke, Johnson, and Lewis, LLC was asked to give other Black business owners advice, and his words carried emotion and impact:
Here in Utah you have to be fearless. So many doors were closed [we were going to be doing business with a large group and once they found out the co-founder or CEO was Black they bailed out. It’s hard to take that one.] Be fearless. Don’t give up. Take that leap of faith. There’s only a small percentage of Black businesses that exist. Be a part of that growth.
Watch ABC4 In Focus Discussion: Black Business Month
Photo Credit: ABC4 and Utah Black Chamber
To read about the more than 3.2 million Black-owned businesses in America, the history of Black entrepreneurship tracing back to the late 1700s, and the business hurdles facing Black business owners, visit: https://www.blackenterprise.com/what-black-businesses-month-means-to-america/