The Shreveport-Bossier African American Chamber of Commerce initiatives during Black History Month are aimed at economic empowerment for local businesses. The first event kicks off with a Fair Share Seminar, noon, Wednesday, Feb. 3. Leon Wheeler, director of Fair Share for the City of Shreveport, will discuss how minority-owned businesses can bid on city contracts. This virtual seminar is free. The Zoom link to participate is https://zoom.us/j/98975450882.
Nationally represented data on small Black-owned businesses indicate that the number of active business owners fell by 22% from February to April 2020 – the largest drop on record – as the pandemic ravaged minority communities disproportionately, according to a report from the New York Fed.
To help local businesses who have also been impacted, the SBAACC has planned several cash mobs at local businesses like Us Up North Kitchen, Orlandeaux’s Café, Red Barn Crawfish, Cityview Coffee, and RedOak BBQ. A cash mob is an intentional group of people who assemble to support a business financially. The entire community is invited to participate. The full list of businesses and dates will be listed on www.sbaacc.org.
Brittney Dunn serves as the chairwoman of the SBAACC. She sees the cash mobs as economic empowerment.
“We’re excited to kick these initiatives off for Black History Month,” Dunn said. “But it is important to support Black businesses all year. Black business owners endure more struggles as first-generation business owners. When we support Black businesses, we are strengthening our local community, helping to build generational wealth by closing the racial wealth gap, creating jobs, celebrating Black culture, and showing support to someone else’s dream.”
The SBAACC is encouraging the community to get involved. Ways that locals can help Black businesses include buying from Black-owned businesses, telling others about the experience, posting about the business on social media, and understanding the barriers that Black business owners face.
Other events planned for Black History Month include:
• Feb. 7 – Neef’s Poetry Night
• Feb. 16 – Tuesday Morning Breakfast
• Feb. 19 – Us Up North Cash Mob
• Feb. 25 – RedOak BBQ Cash Mob
• Feb. 27 – Voter Registration Drive in partnership with Power Coalition at Orlandeaux’s Café and Louisiana Daiquiri
• Feb. 22-26 – Black Elected Officials Week