The Emergence of Pro-black Business Consumers
The pro-black business consumer. This group strives to purchase goods and services from black-owned businesses. In tandem with this, platforms have been created to enable consumers, businesses and organisations to connect with one another. These platforms have been set up to improve skill levels and build black-run economies. This social economic movement aims to boost investment in black businesses locally and internationally.
Why is it important?
The University of Georgia Selig Center for Economic Growth estimates that black American buying power is expected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2021. An article by Noah Debeila estimates that black South Africans have annual buying power of R400 billion. Entrepreneurs and organisations here and in the US are encouraging black consumers to spend their cash in black communities. Activists such as American rapper Killer Mike have challenged African Americans to use their money as a form of protest against police brutality in the country. The #bankblack movement has emerged from this, with Killer Mike calling for one million African Americans to deposit $100 in black-owned banks. Financial institutions such as One United Bank saw an increase of $20 million in 2016 while, Unity National Bank reported an increase of 18.4% in assets between 2015 – 2017, making it one of the top performing African American-owned banks in the Unites States.
‘Our focus it to be unapologetically black and unapologetically focused on building wealth in our community’ – Teri Williams, president of One United Bank
South African black-owned banks such as Khaya Cooperative Bank (KCB) and Eyesizwe Cooperative Bank were set up to cater to black consumers and specifically, black entrepreneurs.
What’s the butterfly effect?
Pro-black business consumers and entrepreneurs are creating platforms to assist people looking for services and companies run by black entrepreneurs. Facebook pages such as Brown Sense and the Black Business Support Network are online communities whose members assist each other as entrepreneurs and consumers wanting to purchase from their businesses.
Candy Lowe, an African American, used last year’s Black Friday to encourage support for black businesses. Lowe chose to purchase goods only from black owned SMEs in her community in Tampa. She also spent the day walking around her neighbourhood urging others to do the same.
Entrepreneur Rashaan Everett is the founder of the Greenwood Project , which promotes a culture of black people investing in black-owned businesses. Everett believes people shouldn’t have to constantly push for diversity and for companies to hire them. Instead black people should create their own businesses. The Greenwood Project asked 100 000 people to invest $100 each in the project with the aim of reaching $1 million in funding. The money will be invested in black SMEs and business incubations. In South Africa, a cooperative financial institution based on the stokvel model, Young Women in Business Network, invests in black owned start-ups.
United States of American and South Africa