Black entrepreneurship to be celebrated, cultivated in Rose City Black Business Month

For the second year, Black-owned businesses in Springfield will come together to grow and encourage entrepreneurship and patronage in the city’s own rendition of national Black Business Month.

Rose City Black Business Month, formerly named Champ City Black Business Month, will support and celebrate Black-owned businesses while giving entrepreneurs the chance to learn, said Camille Hall, co-director of the Young Black Professionals and Businesses of Springfield and The Conscious Connect community navigator.

>> August is Black Business Month. Here are Black-owned businesses in Springfield

The month aims to inspire people to patronize Black-owned businesses not only throughout August but also the rest of the year, Hall said.

The name of the month was changed to avoid confusion, but Hall said a rose is more symbolic of what it is like to pursue a business as a Black person.

“When we think about a rose being a flower and growing and essentially being able to exist in adverse conditions or circumstances, I mean it’s a beautiful flower but it also has thorns on it, so it has this layer of protection,” Hall said. “When we think bout the Black community and as we’ve existed specifically in the entrepreneurial space … we’ve constantly had to exist in a space of having a barrier of protection around us.”

This effort will continue outside of the dedicated month, with the Southside Incubator aiming to help businesses grow and thrive, Karlos Marshall, co-founder of The Conscious Connect, said in a release.

“Over the last year and a half, we’ve made significant strides in providing support services and technical assistance to business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs,” Marshall said. “However, we recognize that persistent gaps still exist in our entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the Southside Incubator is a critical solution to fill the void.”

The Conscious Connect bought a building at 515 S. Yellow Springs St. earlier this year to serve as an on-site physical location and co-working space. It will be renovated with funds it is currently raising before being open to the public.

“The physical facility will come in due time, but building a thriving culture and community to support southside businesses cannot wait,” Marshall said.

Dorian Hunter, community navigator for The Conscious Connect, said that having no Black-owned businesses in downtown Springfield is an “absolute atrocity,” and reflective of many of the challenges Black entrepreneurs face that the events of August hope to address.

“You can’t talk about a vibrant downtown if there’s no diversity,” Hunter said.

Hall said some of these common barriers are a lack of access to business-related programming like is available in Dayton and Columbus, struggles with getting commercial real estate for business spaces instead of residential and a lack of collaborative spaces.

Some of the events that seek to address these issues are an AI educational event on Aug. 10 to teach business owners how to use technology to advance their craft, a coworking day on Aug. 15 to bring social and business interaction together, and a business certification class on Aug. 24 to help businesses complete certification applications, Hunter said.

This year has a more streamlined calendar than last, leaning on some existing events and featuring partner organizations, Black entrepreneurs and allies, Hall said. She said this year builds on last year’s success, and she hopes the month’s offerings and impact continue to grow each year.

Hall said organizers are hoping to create a “utopian experience” for participants in the month’s programming that inspires people to make these kinds of events more typical throughout the year.

Given support and care, Black business owners could “continue to multiply and spread and help beautify” the city, Hall said.

“Don’t judge us for our thorns; our environment made us this way,” Hunter said.

A full list of events is available at

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