Black-owned businesses are breaking barriers and creating small business success stories every day.
The number of Black-owned businesses in the U.S. increased by 34.6% from 1.9 million in 2007 to 2.6 million in 2012, with women leading the charge. Women account for 58.8% of Black-owned small business owners – the only racial or ethnic group with more business ownership than their male peers.
This Black History Month, we’re celebrating our members’ successes – and the important role digital tools play in helping them continue to thrive in a competitive marketplace.
ShearShare – Dallas, TX
Norm-busting is the norm in the digital age, so when Courtney and Dr. Tye Caldwell identified a norm in the beauty industry, they came up with an innovative plan to bust it. They created ShearShare, an app that pairs licensed cosmetologists and barbers with brick-and-mortar salons and barbershops.
Digital tools are a key part of the business, helping the ShearShare team process payments, create infographics and instructional videos, and run marketing and networking campaigns.
Brooklyn Tea – New York City, NY
Two years of running Brooklyn Tea has taught Jamila McGill a host of benefits that come from building a business on a foundation of technology. She and her husband debuted the brand online and in short order, gained a large and loyal following – enough to open a physical store in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Tea gathers data through Shopify, engages social media audiences through online promotions, and generates 90% of its sales from ads on Facebook and Google.
“With the minimum wage increasing, it’s critical that small businesses save wherever they can, and inexpensive digital tools help us stay afloat,” Jamila says.
My Dessert Bar & Smart Cookie Coaching – Lexington, SC
Shennice Cleckley didn’t even like computers when she decided to start a bakery and catering business, but now she is a fan of all sorts of digital tools. She relied on them to build her My Dessert Bar bakery in South Carolina, then moved it entirely online and finally to build another venture, Smart Cookie Coaching, to help budding entrepreneurs build new businesses.
Shennice uses digital technology in both of her ventures, including free digital tools from big technology companies that are now in the sights of critical policymakers in D.C.
“If costs for these tools increase,” she said, “fewer people will be able to use them. Where can they go to learn? This is the only way they can be in business because they don’t have money. Entrepreneurs need these platforms.”