Black Businesses Matter – Become a Strategic Partner #Blackbusinessesmatter
The Village of Harlem has been the cultural epicenter of Black America for the last 100+ years. More recently, Black Harlem has been confronting the adverse effects of gentrification and economic stagnation of the majority of its Black-owned businesses. This harsh economic reality led to the formation of the Black Business Empowerment Committee (BBE).
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, New York’s Black business community had been battling prohibitive government procurement policies, gentrification, and ineffective legislation that resulted in the demise of thousands of Black businesses. Black people are approximately 22% of NYC’s population, yet we own only 2% of NYC’s businesses and we receive less than 2% of contracts from NYS and NYC agencies. Additionally, it is well documented that Black-owned businesses decreased in NYC by 30% between 2007 and 2012 and the downward trajectory remains.
BBE fears emergency measures put in place to combat COVID-19 will decimate the tenuous footing of NY’s remaining Black businesses; particularly in Harlem where gentrification has taken hold. To maintain the economic health and vibrancy of Harlem for all of its residents, businesses and houses of worship, immediate action must be taken to protect its most vulnerable—its historical residents.
The Black Community will not be left in the COVID-19 boat of despair while others receive the lion’s share of no-bid contracts and financial relief. A database of Black-owned businesses is crucial to BBE’s advocacy. We must collectively step out of the shadows into the light! A big part of our stepping into the light together is the creation of a BBE database.
Harlem’s Black Business Empowerment Committee (BBE) is a collective of Black community organizations, churches and business owners that have come together to put forth a plan for Black Business Empowerment. The goal is to make Black economic health and Black business empowerment a priority for all elected officials. Primary organizers:
The 400 Foundation
The 400 Foundation, a moral movement for economic equality, was birthed in February 2019 as a historical acknowledgement of the 400th year since the end of Chattel Slavery in North America and a biblical response to the Exodus liberation story after 400 years of oppression. www.the400foundation.org
Harlem Business Alliance
Since its founding in 1980 the Harlem Business Alliance (HBA) has been a force of advocacy for the development and empowerment of Harlem’s small business community. HBA offers free one-on-one counseling services to aspiring entrepreneurs maneuvering through the start-up phase as well as to established small business owners. www.hbany.org
WEG is an alliance of Harlem based Black entrepreneurs formed in 2018 in an effort to level the playing field for Black business owners in NYC. WEG seeks to buck the trend by advocating for Black-owned businesses and identifying contract opportunities and Black entrepreneurs prepared to accept the opportunity. www.WEGNYC.org