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How to support Black-owned business all year long

I’m Raelyn, Groundwork’s newest Community Coordinator. As a diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) consultant and facilitator, I’ve had the chance to collaborate with a diverse range of organizations, guiding them in fostering greater equity and inclusivity not just internally, but also within their broader communities. Along with cultivating an impactful online presence and advocating for social justice, I’m deeply committed to uplifting marginalized communities. Moving into my new role as Community Coordinator here at Groundwork, I’m excited to see how my DEI skillset can help continue uplifting our local communities and in turn, local businesses.

Collaborate and network

As a community-driven coworking space, we have the opportunity to support people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. In doing so, we’ve realized the significant benefit that comes from consistently supporting our community through collaborative efforts.

EforAll Executive Director, Samia Walker talking business with Leadership Consultant and EforAll Mentor, Tanya Rivera-Falcone

When you are intentional about creating a space that invites folks from all backgrounds, the connections happen organically. One shining example of this is the work done at EforAll South Coast, lead by Samia Walker. The work they do not only impacts the aspiring entrepreneurs in the program, but our community as a whole. By fostering meaningful connections, EforAll helps us continue to build this wonderful community of diverse, multifaceted individuals.

If you’re looking for a way to make a truly lasting impact on Black businesses, build meaningful connections with Black entrepreneurs. Show up for the community. Attend events, join online forums, and actively engage in conversations. Collaborative efforts can lead to the growth of both Black-owned businesses and your own.

Educate yourself

Supporting Black-owned business is great in itself. But knowing why its important to support them makes for a more meaningful consumer experience and deepens our understanding of their personal experiences and our shared history.

Stephanie Corbin, owner of Footprints Bookshop in New Bedford, shared why it’s important to learn about the challenges Black business owners face, and the history that has led to existing disparities. Understanding the systemic issues at play will enable you to make informed decisions and advocate for change.

Black businesses are twice as likely to be denied bank loans than white owned businesses. Supporting Black owned businesses creates economic strength for these businesses, while helping to decrease the wealth gap.

– Stephanie Corbin, Owner of Footprints Bookshop

Amplify Black voices

We believe representation matters and is important for the BIPOC community to see themselves on our shelves. The enthusiasm and joy customers express when in my store, from seeing the shelves filled with books that represent them, is how I know, Footprints Bookshop is both needed and wanted in this community.

– Stephanie Corbin, Owner of Footprints Bookshop

From my experience, organizations that provide financial support, allow exhibition or display, educate artists on marketing and budgeting development, and provide an overall platform for artists to collaborate and/or develop their craft are crucial on the path from lone artist to known artist.

Theloni Coleman, Artist
Portrait of Nyanayul, by Annasaskhea

Use your platforms to amplify the voices of Black entrepreneurs and businesses. Share their art, their stories, successes, and challenges on social media, your blog, or within your community. By highlighting their experiences, you contribute to a more inclusive narrative and encourage others to support them as well.

A way to exemplify black business and voices all year round is by simply sharing and reposting their work. You never know who’s following you that is in need of certain services. I’ve found through working with past clients they have referred me to new potential clients and it has worked great. Word of mouth is our greatest tool, with social media now in play there are so many avenues to share your favorite entrepreneurs!

-Annasaskhea, Photographer & Digital Creator

Shop Black-owned businesses

Discovering and supporting Black-owned businesses starts with intentional choices. Nowadays it’s easier and cheaper to hop on Amazon for nearly all our purchasing needs. But when you spend money locally, you’re not only creating a more impactful consumer experience, you’re also contributing to the health and longevity of your local economy.

Supporting Footprints Bookshop year round ensures we will be in the New Bedford community for many years to come

Stephanie Corbin

Look for directories or online platforms that curate lists of Black-owned businesses in your area or industry. Buy Black NB is an excellent resource to find and support businesses owned by Black entrepreneurs in a multitude of product and service-based industries.

My favorite Black owned business is Brown Suga Stationery – First and only Black owned stationery store in Massachusetts and located in New Bedford. This woman owned business uses her own artistic talent to create bookmarks, cards, business cards, journals to name a few things.

Stephanie Corbin

Recommend and review your favorite Black-owned business

John Morgan, owner of Morgan Staffing Services presenting at Breakfast of Champions in GWFR

Providing reviews for Black-owned businesses that you love and want to support holds significant importance as it can create a positive impact on consumer perception. These reviews play a pivotal role in attracting new customers. Reviews help businesses get found online, provides credibility and important feedback, helps build trust with customers, and facilitates word-of-mouth marketing that serves as an inspiration for others to support them as well.

Even a simple share of their pages on your social media accounts creates a lasting impact. And the best part? All of this is FREE to do! Your words have the power to influence and guide people towards contributing to the success of these businesses.

Why your support matters

Supporting Black-owned businesses beyond Black History Month is a commitment to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion. By educating ourselves, collaborating & networking, shopping Black-owned businesses, amplifying their voices, and providing reviews, we can actively contribute to building a more inclusive and thriving business environment for everyone. Let’s make the conscious effort to turn our support into long-lasting change!

Raelyn Couto