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7 Ways to Be an Ally for Black Business Owners
by Sharita Humphrey
August 3, 2023
man and woman business partners stand in front of cafe together

Do you want to make a positive impact and support Black business owners in your community? Being an ally is an important step toward fostering inclusivity and equality. By actively engaging in practices that uplift and empower Black business owners, you can contribute to the growth and success of their businesses.

In this article, we’ll explore seven practical ways you can be an ally.  

How You Can Help Black Businesses Succeed 

Black businesses are essential to our communities. They create jobs, boost the economy, and provide goods and services we love. Here are seven ways you can help Black business owners succeed: 

1. Educate yourself.  

Educating yourself about the unique challenges faced by Black business owners is a vital first step in being an ally. There are many resources available that can help you learn more about these challenges. You can search online, talk to Black business owners or attend workshops and seminars. By gaining a deeper understanding of these issues – such as discrimination, lack of access to capital and limited networks – you’ll be better equipped to support Black entrepreneurs.  

2. Shop at Black-owned businesses.  

One of the best ways to support Black business owners is by shopping at their establishments. When you shop at a Black-owned business, you’re putting money back into the community and helping to create jobs. You’re also supporting businesses that are often overlooked by mainstream retailers.

3. Invest in Black-owned businesses.  

Investing in Black-owned businesses is a great way to support Black entrepreneurs and help them succeed. And the best thing? You don’t need to be a millionaire to do it. There are many ways to invest in Black businesses – you can invest through crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or GoFundMe, or you can connect with angel investors looking to invest in Black businesses.

Investing in Black businesses isn’t just a great way to support them; it’s also a way to diversify your portfolio. It’s also a great way to make a profit, as Black businesses are becoming increasingly successful

4. Collaborate and partner with Black business owners.  

To build a thriving business community, collaboration is very important. When you collaborate with Black business owners, you’re not just supporting one business, you’re supporting an entire community. You’re also helping to create a more diverse and inclusive business landscape.

There are many ways to collaborate with Black-owned businesses. You could: 

  • Partner on projects. If you’re working on a project that would benefit from the expertise of a Black entrepreneur, consider partnering with them. For example, if you run a catering business, you can collaborate with a Black-owned event planning company to create a more diverse and inclusive event. You can also partner with a Black-owned bakery to create custom cakes for your events. 

  • Cross-promote each other’s business. Promote each other’s business on your social media channels, websites and other marketing channels. 

  • Share resources. If you have a surplus of resources, such as office space or equipment, consider sharing them with a Black-owned business. 

  • Refer customers to each other. If you have a customer looking for a product or service offered by a Black business owner, make sure to refer them. 

By collaborating with Black-owned businesses, you can help level the playing field and create a more equitable business landscape, in your local community as well as in the business world.  

5. Volunteer your time to support Black business owners.  

Volunteering is a great way to support Black businesses and make a difference in your community. Many organizations support Black businesses, and they always need help from volunteers. You can volunteer your time to help with a variety of activities, such as:  

  • Fundraising. Help raise money for Black-owned businesses through donations, events or other means. 

  • Networking. Help connect Black-owned businesses with potential partners, investors or customers. 

  • Education. Help educate the public about Black-owned businesses and the challenges they face. 

6. Consider mentoring and sharing your skills.  

Mentorship is a powerful way to give back to your community and help aspiring Black entrepreneurs succeed. By sharing your knowledge, skills and expertise, you can empower them to navigate the challenges of successfully starting and growing a business. You can join SCORE as a mentor, or other nonprofit organizations that support business owners. 

For example, if you have experience in digital marketing, you could volunteer to mentor a Black-owned startup in developing their marketing strategies. Your mentorship could help them establish a strong online presence and reach a wider audience. Or, if you have experience in accounting, you could mentor a Black entrepreneur who’s just starting and needs help with bookkeeping and financial planning. Your help could give them the foundation to build a successful business.

Mentorship is a win-win for everyone involved – the client gets the advice and support they need, and the mentor gets to give back to their community and make a difference to someone’s business. 

7. Speak up against discrimination.  

Discrimination is never okay, and it’s important that you speak up when you see or hear it happening. Speak up if you see or hear discrimination against a Black business owner.  Let the business owner know that you support them and are willing to help.

Here are some examples of what you can say: “That’s not right,” “I’m sorry you have to deal with this,” “I’m here to support you,” or “I can help you file a complaint.” You can also offer to be a witness or help the business owner find appropriate resources. Consider some additional points when speaking up against discrimination: Be respectful and calm. You don’t want to escalate the situation. Also, be specific about what you saw or heard. This will help the business owner to file a complaint. Then, be willing to follow up. If the business owner needs your help, be there for them. By speaking up, you are sending a message that discrimination is unacceptable and that Black business owners deserve to be treated with respect. 

Final Thoughts 

Being an ally to Black business owners means taking action to create a more inclusive and fair business landscape. You can do this by educating yourself about the challenges that Black entrepreneurs face, supporting Black-owned businesses by shopping and investing in them, collaborating with Black business owners and volunteering your time and mentoring Black entrepreneurs. It’s also important that you speak up against discrimination when you see or hear it happening.

Let’s be a force for positive change by actively promoting diversity and equality within the business community. Together, we can build a future where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed and thrive. 

About the author
Sharita Humphrey
Sharita Humphrey is an award-winning finance expert and money mentor.
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1165 Herndon Parkway, Suite 100
Herndon, VA 20170

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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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