August is National Black Business Month!

August is National Black Business Month

Laura Marti – August 3, 2021

The idea of Black Business Month is simple: support Black-owned businesses and organizations to promote greater economic freedom for the Black community.

How did National Black Business Month begin?

“The observance of #Blackbusinessmonth can be traced back to 2004 when Frederick E. Jordan, an engineering entrepreneur, teamed up with John William Templeton, president and executive editor of scholarly publishing company eAccess Corp to start the yearly event. According to Black Enterprise, Jordan felt compelled to highlight and uplift Black business owners like himself after reflecting on the challenges he faced as a new business owner.”

“When Jordan began his firm in San Francisco in 1969 he struggled to get financing. And though today he’s the successful owner of F.E. Jordan Associates Inc., a company that’s done work around the world, he realizes the cards are still stacked against young Black entrepreneurs.”

Jordan and Templeton
Jordan (left) and Templeton (2010)

“During the 31 days of August, Jordan and Templeton want local government officials, community leaders, and venture capitalists to focus efforts on creating a more hospitable environment in which black-owned businesses can grow. Jordan believes that supporting Black business is the best way to lower the high rate of African American unemployment.”

“According to the most recent United States Census reports, Black- or African American-owned businesses ‘account for 9.4 percent of all firms, which is still below the 13.1 percent Black or African American share of the U.S. adult population.’”

“Representing 10% of all minority-owned businesses, women are at the heart of the growth of Black-owned businesses. Census data reveals that 59% of Black-owned businesses are operated by women; there were 900,000 Black and female-owned firms in 2007, which grew to 1.5 million in 2012.”

Image: Black Enterprise

What types of businesses do African Americans own? 

According to it varies, but most offer some type of service, opposed to selling products. For instance, nearly 38% of Black businesses are in health care and social assistance, repair and maintenance, and personal and laundry services. Other categories include advertising firms, auto dealerships, consulting services, restaurants, beauty care (barbershops/beauty salons), and more.

National Geographic reports that researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz found that the COVID-19 outbreak disproportionately hurt minority businesses—with Black-owned businesses being especially disrupted. They found that 41% of Black-owned businesses had been shuttered due the pandemic, a striking difference to the only 17% of white-owned businesses.

Percent distribution of black owened firms by industry division 1997

How many people are employed by Black businesses?

“Not very many. Of the 2 million Black businesses, only about 107,000 of them have actual employees. Such firms employ more than 920,000 people with a total annual payroll of $23.9 billion. The other 1.9 million businesses do not have paid employees.”

Here are the sources from which we compiled this information and resources where you can learn more about:

  • how Black Business Month works
  • where most Black businesses are located
  • some of the top Black-owned businesses
  • why there are so few Black businesses
  • resources available to help

What is Black Business Month and How Can My Business Show Support? — Nextdoor Business (2020)

Black Business Month — National Day Calendar

The Economic State of Black America in 2020 — published by Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA)

Celebrating Black Business — Black Enterprise (2010)

Black Demographics — SOURCE: US Census 2012 Survey of Business Owners (SBO)

Interesting Facts & Statistics About Black-Owned Businesses —

Women are Leading the Rise of Black-Owned Businesses —U.S. Census Bureau (2016)

Frederick E. Jordan
Frederick E. Jordan
📸: Nextdoor Business

Laura Marti
Laura Martí is Content Creator and Resource Curator for Brownicity. Trained as a microbiologist and currently a wife and mother of four, she has been on an antiracism journey since the death of Trayvon Martin. She shares from her own learning with the goal of educating others and lifting up the dignity of every person.