157 Years After The First Juneteenth, The Black Community Remains Underrepresented In The Business World
Celebrate June 19, 1865
Juneteenth is a federal holiday, marking the day enslaved Americans in Galveston, Texas, finally received word that they were free. It will be officially observed on the 19th of the month. Since the date falls on a Sunday this year, markets will be closed on Monday the 20th.
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 amid the ongoing Civil War, stating that all enslaved people “henceforward shall be free.” On June 19, 1865 Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to present General Order No. 3, which informed all Texans that in accordance with the Proclamation, all enslaved people were to be recognized for the first time as citizens.
An Underrepresented Community
Market observers note the Black community remains underrepresented in the business world. While Black-owned businesses generated about $134 billion in revenue in 2019, these operations represent less than 2% of all US businesses. A University of California, Berkeley study found 80% of these businesses failed in the first 18 months.
Funding may be an issue. In 2020, less than 1% of venture capital dollars were distributed to Black business owners.
Ways to Provide Support
There are numerous ways to support the Black-owned business community. Many retailers now identify suppliers that are Black-owned businesses right on their website sales pages. Additional ways to identify these businesses include listings that can be found in ByBlack and Black Directory. Black Women Owned, a community group, leans on digital media to promote businesses owned by Black women. Eat Okra supports local Black-owned restaurants and food trucks.
For those who want to do more than buy products, there are ways to directly invest in Black-owned businesses. One option is to invest in minority-empowerment funds. Another route is to provide investment capital using platforms that facilitate investments in Black ventures, such as AngelList Venture, or by Republic.
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