by Alyx Holder
When Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week in 1926, his vision was to bring much overdue attention and acknowledgment to the contributions of African-Americans throughout our history. As one of the first people to study the history of the African diaspora, Woodson recognized the power in knowing one’s own story and his own contributions would go on to ensure generations upon generations would know the names of our brightest minds, strongest leaders, and greatest heroes. 50 years later in 1976, what began as a single week finally gained national recognition as Black History Month.
Now in its 45th year, this February we take time to honor Black history and culture and all the ways it has shaped the world as we know it. Embracing and supporting Black-owned businesses and building generational wealth within minority communities is more important now than ever before.
Fun Fact: Dr. Woodson chose the second week of February as the first Negro History Week to commemorate the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass.
The Power of Black Entrepreneurship
While African-Americans only represent about 14 percent of the U.S. population, the power of the Black dollar is felt across all industries. Each year we generate billions of dollars in revenue, supporting the national and global economy through both our labor and spending power. Yet a pay discrepancy persists to this day, leaving Black men to make, on average, $0.87 per dollar earned by their white male counterparts. For Black women, the pay gap is larger at $0.62 per dollar.
Often this discordance is inaccurately attributed to lack of education, marketable skills, or choice of career. In reality, Black women are the most educated demographic in the United States. Black women represent more of the minority-owned small businesses than the general business population. Why? According to a prior survey conducted by Guidant, it’s largely due to dissatisfaction with the current state of corporate America and the availability of fair and equal opportunity.
When faced with such challenges, African-Americans of the past and present have always turned to ingenuity and adaptability to overcome and thrive. We pave our own way and create our own tables when others refuse to allow us a seat.
The power of Black entrepreneurship shapes the world around us.
Just take these giants:
Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr., the inventor of the three light traffic system
Valerie Thomas, NASA physicist and inventor of the technology used to create 3D movies
Dr. Charles Drew, inventor of the blood bank and innovator in the field of blood transfusions
Gwendolyn Brooks, first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize
Bessie Coleman, first black female pilot
Black Entrepreneurship Today
While there is certainly still much work to be done in the fight toward equality, the turn toward Black business ownership and entrepreneurship is a step in the right direction.
Reinvesting the billions in black dollars back into our own communities and building generational wealth within our families is necessary for achieving truly equal footing in America. Breaking the mentality that sports or entertainment are the only paths to financial success opens endless avenues up for the next generation and creates greater leverage in the overall market for African-Americans.
The global connectivity of the modern age makes finding a market for your products and services easier than ever before. As we become disenchanted with large corporations and big-box stores, more Americans are looking for small, local businesses to support. From basic needs like groceries and home maintenance services to niche needs home-delivered keto meal kits, demand exists for any company. Digital marketing makes finding your audience easy.
Whether you have a brick and mortar location or you conduct business completely online, success in today’s market relies heavily on your digital marketing efforts.
Most people have some form of online presence, so it’s easier to get the right eyes on your business when you’re already where they’re going to be. Business accounts for the major social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are free and effective for building awareness for your brand.
While social media marketing is a great place to start, investing time and energy into a user-friendly, search engine optimized website is paramount to getting the best results for your effort. Your website is the digital face of your company. It should act as a central hub for all the information your customers need to feel comfortable making an educated purchasing decision. Beyond the basics of contact information, pricing, and product or service descriptions, use your website to help your clients get to know you. An about us page to introduce you and your team, your mission, and why you are passionate about your business helps to build human connection and trust. (More about why that’s important here!)
Not sure where to start? Overwhelmed by the prospect of taking on digital marketing yourself? We’ve got you! Jali Creatives was founded to help support small businesses and female founders of color reach their full potential through empowerment and professional, compassionate support. We’re in this with you and we want to see you win! Our job is to solve common digital marketing problems like inconsistent messaging, unfocused branding, and subpar marketing materials. Yours is to focus on providing the best quality customer service to turn your first-time customers into loyal clients.
This Black History Month, let us help you create history of your own. Whether you’re a first time entrepreneur or looking to strengthen your business’ online marketing strategy, Jali Creatives is here for you. Contact us now for a free consultation!