Minority-owned businesses likely play a significant role in your local economy. According to the US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, there are over 4 million minority-owned businesses in the United States, with sales totaling $700 million.
Over the last 10 years, these businesses accounted for 50% of the 2 million businesses started in the US, and they created 4.7 million jobs. Look around—the reason your city continues to grow is likely because of the success of these minority-owned small businesses.
You can support minority-owned businesses as a consumer and as a business owner. Check out these 7 ways you can help them grow.
The easiest way to support a minority-owned business: buy their goods and services. Whether you’re shopping at a local coffee shop or hiring a florist for your wedding, you can choose to give your business to a minority-owned establishment.
Supporting communities of color builds up diverse neighborhoods and furthers the pursuit of equitable prosperity. The money you spend here will not just help build diversity—it will also stay with local businesses, which furthers wealth within your community.
This is a rule of thumb that applies to almost any small business: avoid using services like UberEats or Shipt when buying from minority-owned businesses. Instead, see if they have their own local delivery service or pick up the goods yourself instead.
National services like DoorDash can take up to 30% of the profits on an order—meaning your support might not stretch as far as you planned. Buying local also includes shipping or delivering services.
If you work with different vendors to keep your business afloat, look for ways to hire minority-owned companies and promote their products. For example, a breakfast restaurant could serve coffee by a minority-owned roaster or pastries by a minority-owned baker. This partnership advertises their business, grows your selection, and spreads wealth across both of your businesses.
Feedback in the form of online reviews is one of the best ways for you to support a locally run minority-owned business.
If you had a great experience, leave a positive comment on Google, Yelp, Facebook, or other review sites. Share photos if you have them. This act might seem small, but you can increase their visibility online and help grow their business—plus it won’t cost you anything beyond a few minutes of your time.
According to the Minority Business Development Agency (part of the US Department of Commerce), there are almost 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in the United States. About 110,000 of them have employees.
This statistic means that 96% of Black-owned businesses are individual entrepreneurs or partnerships without employees. These small businesses often miss out on networking opportunities because they can’t afford the fees associated with joining professional organizations or the local Chamber of Commerce.
If you are involved in any dues-based organization, offer to sponsor a minority-owned business. This support gives these business owners seats at the table to reap the same benefits as larger, wealthier organizations in your area.
While the value of your services as a business owner remains the same, not everyone can afford to pay for what you do. Some service providers—like accountants, marketers, and web designers—offer a “pay what you can” program for nonprofits and minority-owned companies.
This flexibility can significantly benefit minority-owned business owners. For example, many small business owners also take on tasks related to their business’s accounting and taxes. If they had better bookkeeping or were able to take advantage of more tax opportunities, then they could become more profitable. Making your accounting services available in these scenarios could take the financial pressure off the owner and allow them to focus on growing their business.
Offering your services on a sliding scale can help you support minority-owned businesses that need your services but can’t afford them right now.
You may not realize it, but prioritizing diversity in your workplace can help you support minority-owned businesses in your area. Your diverse employees support others in the community and can promote other minority-owned businesses not on your radar. A diverse workplace can also benefit your business: you gain fresh perspectives and new ideas when your team members come from different backgrounds.
That being said, you should never expect your employees of color to serve as ambassadors to their communities or put the burden entirely on them to explain race-based issues to you. That would be an unfair request—and a responsibility that your white team members would never have to face.
You don’t need to have a large business in your town or city to support minority-owned companies. By simply being cognizant of where you spend your money and who you support, you can elevate hard workers and impressive brands in your neighborhood.