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GREENWOOD, Dist. — August marks a significant celebration of entrepreneurship, economic empowerment, and resilience within the Black community as the US observes National Black Business Month. This annual observance, which has gained immense prominence and recognition over the years, traces its roots back to a dedicated effort to uplift and support Black-owned businesses.
The Visionaries Behind the Movement for a National Black Business Month
The inception of National Black Business Month can be attributed to the combined efforts of Frederick E. Jordan and John William Templeton, two visionary entrepreneurs who recognized the need to spotlight the economic contributions of Black-owned enterprises in the United States. In 2004, the duo conceptualized and initiated the movement to honor the achievements of African American business owners and to encourage consumers to actively patronize Black-owned establishments.
“Our research indicates that there should be 2.5 million African Americans in business, and we only have half that many,” Templeton told Black Entreprise. “If you look at the Black and White unemployment disparity, the essential idea is, the only way we’re going to get the level of employment we need is to support Black businesses. As of April, the black unemployment rate was 16.5%; the white rate was 9.0%.”
Frederick E. Jordan, a California-based engineer and the founder of F.E. Jordan Associates, and John William Templeton, an accomplished journalist and historian, shared a passion for documenting the stories of business pioneers throughout history. They recognized that while Black entrepreneurs have played a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s economy, their contributions often went unnoticed or uncelebrated.
“Frederick Douglass wrote that “our freedom is tied to our business ownership,” Templeton declared in a penned op-ed for Inc. Magazine.
From Idea to Reality: Establishing National Black Business Month in 2004
Their determination led to the establishment of National Black Business Month in August 2004, with the goal of raising awareness about the economic impact of Black-owned businesses and promoting a sense of community support. The founders emphasized the importance of not just acknowledging historical accomplishments but also actively supporting current Black business owners in their pursuit of success.
Over the years, National Black Business Month has evolved into a multifaceted celebration that encompasses a wide range of activities and initiatives. From workshops and seminars aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and financial literacy to networking events that connect Black business owners with potential partners and customers, the month-long observance has become a powerful platform for empowerment.
Building Bridges Across Industries
The movement has garnered support from various quarters, including governmental bodies, corporate entities, nonprofit organizations, and community leaders. National Black Business Month serves as an opportunity to showcase the diverse array of industries in which Black entrepreneurs have made their mark, including technology, fashion, finance, healthcare, and more.
The impact of National Black Business Month is not limited to August alone. Throughout the year, the momentum generated by this observance has led to increased collaboration, heightened awareness, and tangible support for Black-owned businesses. Social media campaigns, local events, and national partnerships have all contributed to the continued growth of this movement.
Inspiring Hope for an Inclusive Economic Future
As National Black Business Month gains traction each year, it serves as a testament to the indomitable spirit of Black entrepreneurs and their dedication to economic empowerment. By shedding light on their accomplishments and challenges, this observance paves the way for a more inclusive and equitable business landscape in the United States.