There has been a huge rise in Black owners since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and it has been inspired by the Social Justice Movement.
Initially, for the first month of the pandemic, Black ownership decreased. This isn’t surprising, considering we were all just sitting at home. I know I was.
But per the story from NBC News, out of necessity the Black Lives Matters movement inspired by the murder of George Floyd led to more Black workers becoming business owners compared to workers of other races, according to the research of Robert Fairlie, a researcher and professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
From NBC News:
Fairlie’s data, based on an analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, shows there was a 38 percent increase in new Black business owners across the country from February 2020 to August 2021. Latino business owners increased by 15 percent in the same period, while white entrepreneurs fell by 3 percent and Asian entrepreneurs by 2 percent, according to Fairlie.
This follows his report last year that showed Black business ownership had fallen 41 percent in the first month of the pandemic. That initial report earned Fairlie the Bradford-Osborne Research Award for research in support of entrepreneurs of color.
Black people were hit hard economically by the pandemic, which shut down many industries and led to mass layoffs and job losses. Women, more broadly, and Black women, in particular, were forced out of work to fill the caregiving gaps in their families. Essential workers, who were disproportionately Black, were vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Those are a few reasons for the dramatic increase after the initial fall, Fairlie said. Black people, especially Black women, left or were fired from their jobs at a disproportionate rate and instead of seeking new employment, started anew by becoming business owners. Also, many seized the opportunity of the call to buy Black, believing the support exists to make an upstart business a success.
No surprise, Black women are leading the way!
According to NBC News, two sisters-in-law had plans for creating their own business together, but it was not until the pandemic hit for those plans came to fruition that they created A+Z Collections.
From NBC News:
Sisters-in-law Ashley Billings and Zoe Baker both knew they could be strong business partners. After talking all summer last year, Baker took their discussions to another level in an email.
“The email was the incorporation of our company and the application for our business license,” Billings recalled. “It was the moment when I thought, ‘We’re actually going to do this. We’re going to make this happen.’ And it was exciting because, coming off the social justice movement, we had been conscientious about buying Black and supporting small businesses. And now we were going to jump into the fray.”
Six months later, in May, she and Baker launched A+Z Collections, an online apparel boutique that provides affordable luxury vacation wear that can be worn on the beach or at dinner.
“We love fashion and we love to travel,” Baker said, “so it’s two passions coming together as a business. Also, the social justice movement inspired a buy Black movement and it inspired independence and doing for self. So, it all came together for us.”
While the pandemic has affected Black people a lot in negative ways, it has also brought some positivity.
We are seeing men and women, young and old creating their businesses all for the benefit of the Black community. We love to see it.