August is National Black Business Month. Here’s what you should know
August is National Black Business Month, an annual celebration recognizing Black entrepreneurs and their contributions to America’s economy.
Metro Atlanta is the nation’s hub for Black-owned businesses, with the highest proportion of Black-owned businesses than any other metro in the country, according to Census data. In the region, 7.4% of employer businesses are owned by African Americans. The Columbus metro area ranks fourth in the nation, with 6.7% of employer businesses being Black-owned. Nationally, just 2.4% of employer firms are Black-owned.
When you drill down into Black entrepreneurship in the city of Atlanta, the rate of Black businesses is a lot higher: about 20% of the city’s businesses are Black-owned, according to economic development authority Invest Atlanta.
But for a city with a population that is 44% Black, according to 2021 Census data, there is a stark difference in the population of the city and how it is represented in the business community.
The annual Black business commemoration dates to 2004, when Fred Jordan, an engineer and entrepreneur, and John William Templeton, an author and historian, created the celebration. From events hosted by business groups to brick-and-mortar stores, there are a multitude of ways to support Atlanta’s Black entrepreneurs.
Events in Atlanta
A variety of groups and nonprofits are focused on helping Black entrepreneurs in metro Atlanta. They include:
Atlanta Black Chambers: The group will play host to their general meeting for members and the community on Friday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. They will also have a Black Business Month panel featuring state Rep. Roger Bruce.
Decide DeKalb: The development authority for DeKalb County is hosting two events in honor of Black Business Month. On Wednesday, the group will host apanel discussion with local entrepreneurs from different generations. A South DeKalb Pop-up Business Incubator will be on Aug. 31.
Metro Atlanta Chamber: The business group representing the 29-county regiondoes not have any events planned for Black Business Month at the moment, but they strongly encourage companies to support Black businesses and entrepreneurs through the ATL Action for Racial Equity initiative.
National Black MBA Association Atlanta Chapter: The membership organization will host a golf tournament on Saturday to raise money for their fund that provides scholarships for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students. The group is also hosting a Black Men’s Leadership Summit on Aug.17 and a Professional Development Symposium & Entrepreneur Institute on Aug.19.
Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs: The nonprofit will be showcasing local Black businesses at their Black Friday celebration this Friday from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Credit: Christina Matacotta
Credit: Christina Matacotta
Brick-and-mortar shops to support
The New Black Wall Street Market at Stonecrest: Branded as a modern take on the historic Black business district in Tulsa that was burned down by a white racist mob in 1921, the New Black Wall Street Market boasts space for more than 100 minority vendors. Some of the businesses in the market include the Pink Lion Jazz Club, apparel shop Blingspirations and Mattie’s Tea Room.
The Village Retail: Located in Ponce City Market, the Village Retail store was created by Lakeysha Hallmon, who is fondly known as Dr. Key in Atlanta’s business community. In 2016, Hallmon began bringing together Black entrepreneurs under the Village Market banner to showcase their work and train hundreds of them in business education and community engagement. She opened the Village Retail in 2020 to have a physical space to showcase their goods. The Village Retail also hosts a weekly vendors market at Ponce City Market on Sundays.
The Sistah Shop: This store at Atlantic Station showcases brands created by women of color. It opened a little over a year ago, on Juneteenth 2022. According to the Sistah Shop, featured products range from clothing, accessories, books, health and beauty, home goods, art and more.
Monday – Thursday:11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Report for America are partnering to add more journalists to cover topics important to our community. Please help us fund this important work at ajc.com/give