In the 2014 State of Black America report, the essay, Facts vs. Fiction: Buying Black As An Economic Strategy, revealed that out of the trillions that African Americans spend annually on goods and services, only 3 percent of that amount is used to support Black-owned businesses and firms.
Wekesa Madzimoyo, the founder of The AYA Institute, discusses the history of African Americans as business owners. “I’m sad that we finance our own oppression and also understanding why we do it, how we got to be where we do it, and what’s needed for us to no longer do it,” said Madzimoyo.
In a previous article, Madzimoyo explained the tactics that were used in order to discourage African Americans from starting and supporting Black-owned establishments. Madzimoyo gives an example as to how and why this issue occurs within the African American community today.
What if your smartphone could help you give back and buy Black? The Around The Way app is a free app designed to help you locate Black-owned businesses in your community. The idea for the app came from a young woman by the name of Janine Hausif. In an interview with BET, Hausif discussed her desire for African Americans to succeed by supporting Black communities and businesses.
The Around The Way app allows users to locate Black-owned businesses by using their smartphone’s GPS location. The app also allows users to set their cities location in the settings menu, and from there individuals are able to view a list of businesses in their area. The selection of businesses range from
Banks, ATMs, Restaurants, Beauty Salons, Barber Shops, and Health and Wellness just to name a few.
According to Nielsen, consumers are spending more time using their smartphones, with an average monthly time of 34 hours and 21 minutes per user. Among those consumers, African Americans ages 18 to 34 spend the most time using their smartphones, with individuals from ages 25 to 34 leading with 53 percent.
While you are surfing the web on your smartphones, download the Around The Way app so you can help support and give back to the Black companies in your community.
According to the United States Census Bureau, there has been a significant increase in the number of Black-owned businesses at triple the national rate. These numbers were gathered from the, Survey of Business Owners, which is conducted every five years. Although Black-owned businesses have increased in the United States, the amount of receipts generated by these businesses has declined. In Jim Clingman’s article, The Mythical Black Economy, he found that the average gross receipts for Black-owned businesses decreased by 3 percent, from $74,000 per firm in 2002 to $72,000 per firm in 2007.
It is important to address the issue regarding the lack of support for Black businesses in the United States. In a recent survey, Supporting Black Owned Businesses, the results show that roughly 33 percent of the respondents are aware of the Black-owned businesses within their community. Results further show that, individuals seldom patronized at Black establishments. Also, when asked about their shopping experiences with Black businesses, most respondents chose that they occasionally receive superb customer service and feel as though the products or goods that are offered are rarely priced fairly. Outcomes from the survey also show that nearly all respondents do not feel obligated to support Black businesses if the customer service is substandard. However, 100 percent of the respondents reported that it is very important for African Americans to support Black-owned businesses.
Below, Representative Joyce Beatty discusses the importance of entrepreneurship within the Black community and the need of support for small businesses and minority-owned businesses.
According to Nielsen, statistics have shown that African Americans are the number one consumers in the United States, spending more than $1 trillion dollars a year on goods and services. A small amount of those funds are used to support Black-owned businesses. In the 2014 State of Black America Report, the article, Facts vs. Fiction: Buying Black As An Economic Strategy, revealed that the black dollar only last six hours in its community before going out into the world. In other communities, Asian, White, and Hispanic, their dollar lasts in their community 7 to 28 days before it goes out into the world. This means that African Americans spend their monies outside of their community with non Black-owned businesses, thus not supporting or empowering their community.
After conducting a questionnaire that concerned African Americans patronizing with black businesses, the results showed that the top three reasons many Blacks have issues with buying black are:
1) Customer Service: Many respondents feel that the owners and or employees are not welcoming or attentive to customers.
2) Availability of Products/Goods: Some respondents feel that the products and or goods that they are seeking are not always offered or available, causing them to shop with that business only once.
3) Prices/Over Charging: Respondents expressed that in some cases the products or goods were overpriced, forcing them to shop elsewhere where they felt the products were affordable.
In order to address these issues and concerns within the African American community, it is important to first confront the root of the problem. The survey below, Supporting Black-Owned Businesses, is designed to ask questions that may help Black business owners understand the consumer’s frustrations and hopefully find ways to fulfill their needs and desires.