10% of US Companies are Black-owned, yet only 3% of venture capital went to Black-founded companies in 2020 according to an analysis done by Reuters and Crunchbase. Many groups and organizations blame a “pipeline” problem for finding Black-founded and owned companies to invest in, buy from, or partner with. Individual leaders within companies can help their organizations create a more equitable future by supporting Black-founded and owned companies in their community and industry.
Getting started can be intimidating, so here are a few places to start your inclusive business journey:
Find your local Black Chamber of Commerce
Most metro areas in the country have a Black Chamber of Commerce that provides business services to local Black business owners. The good news for you is that the chambers promote their member companies and often list a directory on their website. Additionally, you can check out the US Black Chambers and the National Black Chamber of Commerce for nationwide resources.
Identify local business accelerators with a focus on Black entrepreneurs
Business accelerators (that provide intensive curriculum and support to early-stage companies) are a great place to look for new and innovative companies in your area. An increasing number of these accelerators are focusing either in part or in whole on businesses with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) founders. Black Founders Exchange by American Underground in Durham, North Carolina; DivInc in Austin and Houston, Texas; Hillman Accelerator/Lightship Foundation in Cincinnati, Ohio; and Founder Gym (location-agnostic) are all great examples of accelerators with a focus on inclusion.
Small Business Administration’s 8a Program
The federal government’s Small Business Administration has several programs to support small and underserved businesses. One of these – the 8a program – certifies small businesses that fit certain demographic criteria such as Black-owned, which qualifies them for certain federal contracting opportunities. Taking a look at the 8a program can be a great way to expand your search for Black-owned businesses across many industries.
Utilize Black-Owned Business Directories
Due to the high consumer demand, many resources have popped up over the past few years to support shopping Black-owned businesses. These directories range by geography and industry. Looking for restaurants? Try EatOkra. Looking for Black-owned businesses in Seattle? Try Intentionalist. Looking for more comprehensive directories that span industries? Check out We Buy Black, Support Black Owned, and Official Black Wall Street.
You can utilize these four strategies and resources to find the companies you’re looking for, support the economic growth of Black communities, and discover countless new products and services. Supporting Black-owned businesses helps close the racial wealth gaps, fosters job creation in your community, and strengthens local economies. Start building partnerships, investing in, and buying from Black-owned businesses to create a better and stronger tomorrow for your company and the world.
Are you looking to partner with Black-owned businesses to compete in the Federal Marketplace? Check out www.BlackFocusX.com – Ratio Exchange’s community for Black innovators in the federal contracting ecosystem.